The Clippers moved into the early 2nd round to select guard Jason Preston from the University of Ohio. The Clippers traded a future 2nd round pick and cash for Preston, meaning that they didn’t give up a ton of value.
This was a move that was easy to see coming. Sam Vecenie of the Athletic, one of the most plugged in guys in the draft, repeatedly said the Clippers had interest in Preston, and with the amount of 2nd round picks up for grabs, it figures the Clippers were able to get their guy.
At 6’4, 187 pounds, Preston is a tall point guard who put up huge numbers in his junior season at Ohio, averaging 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.5 steals in 34.6 minutes, and shooting an incredible 51.4% from the field (57.6% on twos), 39% on threes (4.1 attempts), and 59.6% from the line (2.4 attempts).
While those numbers are impressive, Ohio is part of the MAC conference, non-Power 5, meaning the competition was quite a bit worse than the Big 10 or SEC. Additionally, the poor shooting on free throws (and lack of attempts) shows some shooting deficiencies compared to the three point percentage and also his lack of burst in consistently getting to the rim and drawing fouls. Still, the rebounding and steal numbers are a plus sign of overall basketball know-how, and the efficiency on two-pointers is pretty crazy for a point guard. He’s clearly a smart player, can finish, and can pass, which is great.
Preston is an amazing story. He barely played in high school, and was actually a blogger at PistonPowered, a Fansided blog, for a while, as a guy who grew up a Pistons fan. In fact, he wrote about now-teammate Reggie Jackson! That’s pretty crazy! It will be hard not to root for him.
That said, with guys like Jared Butler and Sharife Cooper on the board, big-time players with higher level skills (shooting and defense, and passing/handling respectively) then Jason Preston, it feels like the Clippers didn’t necessarily get the best talent. That’s not getting into the defensively-apt Deuce McBride, or solid overall wing Joel Ayayi. Preston’s deficiencies as an athlete and shooter off the dribble are real, and could limit the potential of his overall basketball smarts.
Preston can play, and I like the addition of a young point guard, but I can’t help but feel like there were better players on the board. Regardless, welcome to the Clippers, Jason!