Countdown to the NBA draft: L.A. Clippers 2017 second-round edition

First things first, a reminder this series is a collaboration with the CelticsLife reader's hive-mind, where we use our collective abilities and interest to take deep dives into the sea of prospective talent available to be selected by the Boston Celtics at any of the six potential spots the club may have the choice at selecting from. We provide you with four options (and the ability to write in suggestions) with a Twitter poll, the winner of which will get extended analysis colored by whatever facts, stats, video or other evidence you help source.

With that out of the way, this week we move even closer to the first round, moving in reverse order, focusing on the second-highest pick available to Boston in the second round. That pick, which belonged to the Los Angeles Clippers, will convey to the club unless otherwise traded - unlike last week's pick, which would have required Boston to pass on swapping first round picks with the Brooklyn Nets, an unlikely scenario, to say the least. The Clippers, who are currently sitting comfortably in fifth place in a stacked Western Conference, are going to convey a late-second rounder based off their record, but given this draft's unusual depth if not stars, it's possible a quality NBA player could be selected this deep.

Much like the trade deadline, having lots of assets means you're going to be involved in a lot of speculation leading up to the event. Unlike the trade deadline, however, is the fact that SOMETHING must be done with all the available picks Boston has access to, depending on the path they take. Roster and salary caps are going to affect those decisions, with Boston already looking at some tough decisions even with the official limit rising by two with the new two-way NBA/ D-League contracts coming into effect and big plans for summer free agency. The plans of teams with established stars who may not have their ships in order in a time-frame that works with their contract situations may also play a role in what happens, should such a player suddenly become available for the right price.

Chances are, the Celts won't be making ALL of their picks - especially these late seconds - but if teams try to get Danny Ainge to overpay, he's already demonstrated he'd rather let them go the way of Ben Bentil than make a move just because the narratives circulating suggest he has no other choice. So, as unlikely as any player selected here actually making the team may be, we'll do our due diligence and cover ALL possible moves available to the Celts.

With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the candidates who will potentially be on the radar and still unsigned in the 51st to 54th pick range, where the Clippers' second-round pick projects to land at the moment. Keep in mind that for any selection past the mid-point of the second round that high-risk, high-reward selections may be the wisest choices, given how rarely players taken this late pan out.


Kyle Kuzma - Utah
A smaller four at 6'9, Kuzma nevertheless manages to pull down over nine boards per tilt, aided by his speed, mobility, and feel for the game. He doesn't have any big red flags apart from occasionally playing out of control, a little worrisome given his age (21), and to a lesser extent the streakiness of his shooting. His jumper is sound while needing work in the range department, projecting anywhere from a starting combo forward to deep rotation, depending on whether his patience and shooting can be refined.

Kobi Simmons - Arizona
One of the three best players on a stacked Arizona squad, Simmons has sometimes taken a back seat to the raw talent of Lauri Markkanen and drama swirling around Allonzo Trier this season - but he shouldn't be overlooked. A 6'4 guard able defend either backcourt position, the only reason he's likely to fall in this range is his lower-than-desirable scoring (9.2 pts. per game) and shooting (33.7% from three), mostly a result of showboating and poor judgment. With his size and speed, he could be a middling starter in the NBA - or a future ex-pat journeyman, looking for work overseas.

Michael Fusek - Spirou Charleroi
Though mocks can't seem to agree if he is 7'4, or 7'5, they do agree on two things: he is nimble for his size, able to guard centers down to slower threes, with good lateral motion and reflexes on defense. They also agree he is MUCH too thin (about 220 llbs) and a narrow frame that may struggle to put on much more muscle. Given his lack of shooting and build, he doesn't project much higher than a backup as a pro, but he could definitely become a valuable sixth-man-type given his versatility on defense.

Andrew White - Syracuse
A fifth-year journeyman of sorts who played at Kansas and Nebraska before coming to Syracuse, White's size - 6'7 - and shooting - over 40% from deep - could be enough to get him taken in this historically deep draft. He has a low floor if his shot doesn't translate, but his mechanics are sound and release high, so he could end up as high as a middling starter in the NBA.

So, who should Boston choose with the Clippers 2017 second-round pick? One of these four? Someone else? Take the poll, and let us know your thoughts (preferably with evidence of some sort) of who the Celts should take, and we'll get back to you with the results later this week.

For more stories about the NBA Draft, click here. For more by Justin, click here.

Top image via Twitter/FlagrantFlop
Bottom image via Bloomberg Business Weekly
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