For the first time since 2019, the LA Clippers will have their own first round draft pick. The Clippers' front office has been aggressive on draft night in previous years, often looking to buy a first round pick, but this year the 25th pick in the draft already belongs to them.
While the Clippers obviously won't be drafting in the lottery, there is often a lot of hidden talent in the late first round. NBA teams are currently conducting pre-draft workouts with prospects they have their eyes on, and three different players have publicly confirmed that they have worked out for the Clippers.
The first prospect who confirmed his workout with the Clippers via Instagram, was Virginia Commonwealth's Nah'Shon "Bones" Hyland. Hyland is a 6'3" guard, and in 24 games last season, averaged 19.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.9 SPG, while shooting 44% from the field and 37% from deep. Hyland's 2021 campaign earned him the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year Award. The honor was much deserved, as Hyland led his conference in PPG, while also finishing 2nd in steals per game.
The second player to confirm he participated in a pre-draft workout for the Clippers, was 6'5 G/F Kyree Walker. In April of 2020, Walker announced he would be forgoing both collegiate and professional basketball in order to prepare for the 2021 NBA Draft. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Walker shared that he not only worked out for the Clippers, but also had a full conversation with Jerry West. Walker announced on Twitter that he was very pleased with his performance in his workout for the Clippers.
The final draft prospect who has reportedly worked out for the Clippers, is Duke's Matthew Hurt. In 24 games last season, the 6'9" forward averaged 18.3 PPG on an incredibly efficient 55.6% from the field and 44.4% from deep. Hurt took home a plethora of awards for his 2020-2021 campaign, including the ACC's Most Improved Player Award, All-ACC 1st Team Honors, and the 2021 Midseason Wooden Award.
With the recent news that Kawhi Leonard could potentially miss the beginning of next season, the Clippers being able to draft a contributing player in this year's draft would be a major luxury. If the players they have worked out are any indication of their draft goals, the Clippers will likely be looking to draft the most NBA ready player with the 25th pick.