The Clippers’ run of barren drafts even by their standards starts in 2024, with their lone pick being at 46, smack in the middle of the second round. The Clippers have a bunch of free agents, which means there will probably be a roster spot available (even if it’s just a two-way) for whoever they select at 46. And, with no draft picks having been rotation players for the Clippers since Terance Mann back in 2019, the Clippers need to make every pick they have count, especially as they possess so few of them in the next couple years.

We are starting as always with point guard prospects, and point guard is apparently a position the Clippers might look at, per the Athletic’s Law Murray. Jason Preston is long gone. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Xavier Moon are free agents. Thus, the only true point guard currently under contract is Bones Hyland, and there are some indications the Clippers want to move on from him. Even with Harden probably coming back, if Russ and Bones don’t return, point guard depth will be needed, which means the Clippers taking a point guard is certainly possible.

The following explanation is a copy paste explanation of the stats and methodology from previous years. The numbers I compile for this are for college players only (no international, OTE, or G-League players included), and are per game, not per possession. In the NBA, per possession is a more useful stat, but when looking at college players, I feel like playing time is a bigger component – if you can’t play in college, you probably won’t play in the NBA. I also stopped at around number 60 on ESPN’s prospect list, as guys below that are unlikely to get picked even at 46. Finally, the numbers are roughly averaged between the last two college seasons the players played, which can hurt some guys but can balance out outlier seasons.

Reed Sheppard2012.
Stephon Castle19.711.
Rob Dillingham19.515.23.92.910.1220.595
Devin Carter22.
Jared McCain20.314.31.951.
Isaiah Collier19.716.
Bub Carrington18.913.
Tyler Kolek23.
Ajay Mitchell2218.
KJ Simpson21.917.
Jamal Shead21.911.75.83.320.
Bronny James19.
Trey Alexander21.115.63.751.10.421.80.558
Tristen Newton23.

I have updated my database and models, and things have changed somewhat. The three most important stats for point guard prospects (in comparing college stats to advanced all-in-one numbers at the NBA level including WS/48, VORP, and BPM to determine correlation) are steals, age, and true shooting, with rebounds and three pointers made also being impactful. It’s better for prospects to be younger (makes sense) and for all their counting stats to be higher (also checks out). Points, turnovers, and blocks don’t have a strong correlation to NBA success for point guard prospects in my models, but obviously matter when judging players. Here’s a look at some prospects!

Best Prospects in Clippers’ Range

Trey Alexander – Alexander is a three-year junior from Creighton (shout out Cole Huff) who doesn’t stand out hugely in any one category, but brings solid efficiency, rebounding, steal, and three-point shooting numbers. Alexander is also fairly young for his class, having just turned 21, and is on the taller side for a point guard at 6’4. Alexander’s three-point shooting dipped his junior season, but he took a high volume of threes and has had excellent free-throw shooting, so I’m relatively confident the shot will translate. He’s not an amazing playmaker by any stretch, but he’s a solid enough guard who I think would be a terrific selection at 46.

KJ Simpson – Simpson is a three-year junior out of Colorado who steadily improved across his three years in college, finishing with a ferocious 19.7 point, 5.8 rebound, 4.9 assist line this past season to earn First Team All Pac 12. An excellent rebounder for his size (6’2, 175), Simpson is a score-first guard who nonetheless takes relatively good care of the ball. The question for him is whether his shooting 43.4% from three his junior season was real after shooting under 28% his first two years. His free throw shooting being excellent throughout bodes well for his touch, making me a believer in the outside shot. He’s a dynamic scorer who could be a very nice backup, though he is small on defense.

Prospects to Trade Up For

Tyler Kolek – Kolek was a four-year senior at Marquette, and his age (he’s one of the oldest in the draft) and size are the only real knocks on him. He posted solid rebound and steal numbers, made a good number of threes on solid volume, and was extremely efficient. A lot of draft people think he’s one of the safer prospects in the entire draft and a near lock to be a steady backup point, albeit without much upside. I highly doubt the Clippers move up (they don’t really even have the assets to do so), but if Kolek slips from the late 1st to the early 2nd he’d be a fine target.

Prospects to Avoid

Jamal Shead – Shead is someone I know a lot of draft twitter likes. He won Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season at Houston, and is an absolutely tenacious player. The reason he doesn’t measure well statistically is simple – he’s old and posted really poor efficiency stats. His steal numbers are fantastic, and despite being small he can probably hang defensively in the NBA. But at 6’1, 175, Shead might have a really hard time scoring in the NBA, and you need to be a scoring threat as a ballhandler in today’s NBA. He’s not a bad prospect, but I think there will be better guys here.

Bronny James – The Clippers almost certainly would not take Bronny in the draft. And he had a very weird freshman season at USC that resulted in his stats being so poor. But it was still a disappointing campaign for Bronny, and I think he’s a couple years away from being an NBA guy if he ever gets there. Don’t see this one happening.

International Prospects of Note

Juan Nunez – Nunez is a 20 year old who plays for Ratiopharm Ulm in the German Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), the top league in Germany. In 54 games this past season across Bundesliga and Eurocup, the second-highest international competition in Europe, Nunez averaged 9.9 points, 4.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 23 minutes per game while shooting 47% from the field, 31.9% from three (2.6 attempts), and 61% from the line (2.7 attempts). Nunez is a highly skilled offensive player and an adept passer, but the question for him will be if he’s athletic enough to get to the rim or play defense at the NBA level. He’s intriguing.

There are some interesting point guard prospects in the Clippers’ range in this draft. Are there any that you have your eye on more than others?

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