Clippers get (mostly) rare day off on NBA draft day, thanks to Doc Rivers

first_imgFerris Bueller got a Day Off. Why not the Clippers?They were the only NBA team that had no draft picks Thursday.Which meant they didn’t have to spend a lot of time on those annoying, oft-deceptive individual workouts.Which meant they didn’t feel obligated to hold a draft party for their fans. Which also meant they didn’t have any blubbering 10-year-olds lamenting their bad pick, as happened to the Knicks when they chose Kristaps Porzingis. Finally, the Clippers traded for New Orleans’ second-round pick (No. 56 overall), Michigan State’s Branden Dawson, a rugged senior who is an undersized but not underachieving 6-foot-6 1/2 power forward.“He brings toughness,” said general manager Dave Wohl, and the Clippers could use some. Dawson might not be as skilled as Draymond Green, but the Clippers don’t have to wait for him to grow up.Historically, Draft Day has been a daft day for the Clippers, ever since they were pretty much forced to take Danny Manning. They did ring the bell when they took Blake Griffin first overall and they artfully took DeAndre Jordan in 2008 with the 35th pick. They also picked Tyson Chandler second and dealt him (for Elton Brand) and they took Eric Gordon seventh and eventually traded him (for Chris Paul). They picked Darius Miles third, which didn’t end well, and they took Shaun Livingston fourth, which ended in horrible pain. And somehow we’ve gotten this far without mentioning Michael Olowokandi.Recently the Clippers have finished so high and drafted so low that nobody really cared what they did. And on Thursday they watched, from a safe distance, as Adam Silver shook hands with tall teenagers wearing pastel suits.Their first-round pick wound up in Boston, the price to acquire coach Doc Rivers. Their second-round pick went to Denver for center Cheikh Samb. That deal was done six years ago, which was also the final NBA season for Samb. The Celtics cashed the 28th pick on R.J. Hunter of Georgia State. Draft picks alone are empty vessels. When they become real people, that’s when the remorse begins.On the first day of the NCAA tournament, Hunter launched a buzzer 3-pointer that bounced third-seeded Baylor. The Georgia State coach is Ron Hunter, R.J.’s dad. He had already blown out an Achilles tendon during the celebration of Georgia State’s conference tournament win. Here, he was so geeked-up that he fell out of his specially-equipped stool and thus launched a million videos on cellphones through eight sites of the tournament.R.J. is an area-code shooter who, last season, put up 7.5 3-pointers per game. He has little man-to-man defensive experience and will be sentenced to the weight room with little time off for good behavior, but he will have to be guarded between the circles, and that is a virtue in today’s NBA.And the Clippers? Perhaps you’ve forgotten the number 34.7. That was the combined field goal percentage for J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and the recently-traded Matt Barnes in the hideous seven-game loss to Houston. Crawford was 12 for 44 in that series, which is why he is likely the next ex-Clipper.So, yeah, the Clippers might well have picked R.J. Hunter at No. 28.How much is a coach worth? Or a coach/president of basketball operations?Rivers, as you recall, wanted out of Boston when management broke up the nucleus of the 2008 champs and 2010 finalists. The Celtics insisted on a price, and it was paid on Thursday.In Rivers’ two seasons, the Clippers have won two playoff series. That might not sound great, but the last coach to do such a thing, in franchise history, was Jack Ramsay in 1975-76.Yet the Clippers have also kicked away two Western Conference semifinal series, against Oklahoma City and Houston.Rivers walked into a turn-key situation, vacated by the fired Vinny Del Negro. It was somewhat similar to the milk and honey that Mark Jackson left Steve Kerr, in Golden State, coming into this season. You see how that went.This draft came and went without a deal for the Clippers, who must sign Jordan and have little room to wiggle otherwise. They could trade Crawford or buy him out, since they have a team option on him . They’ve already traded Barnes and Spencer Hawes to get Lance Stephenson, who was awful in Charlotte but one of Indiana’s best players in the 2014 playoffs.The West gets no easier next year, especially for a team that quit thinking about tomorrow and thus endured a long yesterday.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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