I don’t have a lot to say, guys. The Clippers sent a 2023 2nd round pick to the New York Knicks, and selected Daniel Oturu with the 33rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Oturu is a big man from the University of Minnesota who put up 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in his sophomore season. Sounds good right? Well, not so much.
Despite his seemingly dominant numbers, Oturu is a highly traditional center, the kind of which has gone out of fashion in the NBA over the past 10 years. While he can block shots around the basket, he has no ability to defend in space on the pick and roll or out on the perimeter, limiting his ability on that end. Offensively, he can score around the basket, and has flashed some range (36.5% three point shooting on 1.7 attempts) but reads the court super slowly, which is why he had 1.1 assists to 2.5 turnovers per game. The rebounding is nice, I guess, but he seems like a guy who will maybe be a 12 minute a game backup center who can feast in the post on offense but will get torched on the other end.
At the 57th pick in the draft, the Daniel Oturu pick would have been fine for the Clippers. I wouldn’t have been excited about it, but Oturu has talent, and he can score and rebound well. The issue is that the Clippers traded up for Oturu at 33 when there were many, many, MANY better players on the board. If they wanted a big man, Xavier Tillman from MSU is a far superior modern prospect who is stronger in the pick and roll, an infinitely better defender, and can make reads on both ends of the court.
But I’m not sure why the Clippers would draft a big man at all, even with Montrezl Harrell presumably walking in free agency. They took project big man Mfiondu Kabengele at 28 in last years draft, and Ivica Zubac should be a 30+ minute a game force at center. The clear need for the Clippers was at point guard to add more creation and shotmaking, or at wing for defense and shooting. Instead, they got neither.
At point guard, Theo Maledon, Grant Riller, Tre Jones, Devon Dotson, and Cassius Winston were all on the board. All of them (and especially Maledon and Winston) could have been rotation players fairly soon after drafting, and long-term backups. At wing, Isaiah Joe, maybe the best three-point shooter in the draft, was still available, as was the solid Robert Woodard. Even before going deeper into the steals, there were easily 7 clearly better players on the board than Oturu.
The 2020 NBA Draft is not over, and the Clippers still have the 57th pick to maybe select a point guard or wing. Oturu is probably a fringe NBA-level player (kind of similar to Johnathan Motley really), but he was not a great choice at 33, and it’s confusing that the Clippers went in that direction at that point in the draft. With that said, Oturu is a high-character guy, and hopefully he pans out for the Clippers.