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Los Angeles Clippers draft picks 2021 preview: 3 options with the No. 25 pick, trade scenarios

The Los Angeles Clippers draft picks for this month’s NBA Draft consists of just one selection. Fresh off a defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles will need to make the most of said selection.

Point guard is an obvious need for the organization. Meanwhile, there’s a chance that the Clippers look to use the 25th pick and other limited assets to find a proven player. That’s especially true with Kawhi Leonard now out through at least the start of the 2022 calendar year. Below, we preview the Los Angeles Clippers 2021 NBA Draft with a mock and a look at three options as well as some trade scenarios.

Los Angeles Clippers 2021 NBA Draft picks

  • First round, 25th pick

Los Angeles Clippers mock draft

  • 24. Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee): Neemias Queta, center, Utah State
  • 25. Los Angeles Clippers: Josh Christopher, guard, Arizona State
  • 26. Denver Nuggets: Ayo Dosunmu, guard, Illinois

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Los Angeles Clippers draft Josh Christopher

los angeles clippes draft picks: josh christopher
Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic

Los Angeles needs to find some young options in the backcourt. That’s especially true if the team takes advantage of Terance Mann’s performance in the playoffs and looks to flip the 24-year-old guard while his trade value is at an all-time high. Right now, Mann would compete with an overrated Luke Kennard for playing time at the two-guard position in 2021-22.

The 6-foot-5 Christopher has been compared by some to San Antonio Spurs star wing DeMar DeRozan. For good reason. He’s boasts a tremendous two-way skillset. Last season saw Christopher average 14.3 points and 4.7 rebounds while playing great defense. He’d be a great fit for a Clippers team that needs more youngsters in the backcourt and could use wing help.

Los Angeles Clippers draft Jared Butler

Los angeles clippers draft pick Jared Butler
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Likelier seen as a bigger need for the Clippers, point guard will have to be addressed at some point during the summer. Rajon Rondo is not a long-term solution. Meanwhile, Patrick Beverley saw his game regress a great deal this past season. Los Angeles has been linked to Lonzo Ball in sign-and-trade scenarios, but drafting a youngster might make more sense.

Enter into the equation this former Baylor star guard who helped the team to a shocking NCAA title this past season. Butler averaged 16.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 47% shooting from the field. He’s seen as a starter-caliber guard moving forward.

“Shifty ball handler who moves quickly side-to-side, and uses deception to generate space,” Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer noted in his scouting report. “Good scorer off the dribble; he’s most potent in the pick-and-roll, as he can pull up for deep 3s or split screens and get to the rim, where he can finish with either hand. Versatile spot-up shooting threat who relocates like a veteran around the perimeter and has excellent footwork coming off screens.”

This seems to be a tremendous fit for both the Los Angeles Clippers and the young point guard. In fact, Butler’s experience would allow him to receive minutes early in his career.

Los Angeles Clippers draft Daishen Nix

The lesser known of the 2021 NBA Draft prospects to play for the Ignite in the NBA G-League, Nix struggled big time in the Orlando Bubble. There’s now talk that he could very well fall out of the first round altogether.

So, why would Los Angeles take a chance on the 6-foot-5 guard? Well, it’s rather simple. He boasts a tremendous amount of upside and could potentially be a gem at the end of the first round. Teams in the Clippers’ situation can take a chance that the raw talent will translate to the professional game. With a ceiling as an NBA All-Star, Nix is just that type of high-upside prospect.

Los Angeles Clippers trade scenarios for the 2021 NBA Draft

Los Angeles Clippers draft preview: Terance Mann trade?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

By virtue of their trade for Paul George ahead of the 2019-20 season, the Clippers don’t necessarily have draft capital to entice teams in a trade for a proven veteran. In fact, the Oklahoma City Thunder own control of Los Angeles’ first-round picks in each of the next five years after 2021 — either via pick swap or straight compensation.

This is going to make it difficult for Los Angeles to make a move for a veteran. The only way this could happen under NBA rules is if the team picks for another squad at 25 overall. With all of that said, the Clippers do have salaries to entice other teams. Both Mann and Ivica Zubac could also be of interest to other rebuilding squads. Add in the contracts of Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris, and the Clippers could increase their payroll under the NBA salary cap.

Among the possibilities at point guard, Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers might make sense. The same thing could be said about Eric Bledsoe of the New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray. The Clippers have also been linked to pending restricted free agent Lonzo Ball.

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