Overtime: Clippers' GM Neil Olshey on the draft
Rewinding the digital tape recorder the day after the NBA draft ...
The Clippers ended up with two first-round selections, the second via a trade with the Thunder, and one second-rounder. They took Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest at No. 8, Eric Bledsoe of Kentucky at No. 18 and Willie Warren of Oklahoma at No. 54.
"The goal is to start building the roster, the goal is to start having a direction," Clippers General Manager Neil Olshey said. "We had positional requirements. We wanted to do it here too. We needed more depth, athleticism. Wanted to get longer, and obviously by the results of the three picks, we wanted to get faster.
"That’s not going to dictate style of play, but I think the ability to push the ball, raise the number of possessions per game, is a key for us. We think we’re going to be a great rebounding team with Chris [Kaman] and Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan].”
He offeredmore specifics on Bledsoe, a point guard:
"We were very high on Eric Bledsoe," Olshey said. "Obviously, we don’t have a player behind Baron [Davis]. We want to play up-tempo. Loved his talent and upside. He was great when he worked out for us. I saw him play five times at Kentucky, especially late in the year. What we realized was, that around [No.] 14, when he was still on the board, it was time to start calling teams.
"...We had Eric right behind John Wall in terms of positional depth chart. One of the things we’ve learned, guys like Brandon Jennings, Darren Collison, Johnny Flynn, Tyrone Lawson, the young guys that have had great success, [is] the ability to get the ball baseline to baseline in a hurry. They can finish around the basket and you saw that with Eric. If he was with last year’s group, he would have been of that ilk. The ability to add him this year was too good an opportunity to pass up."
On Warren's big drop in the draft, tumbling into the second round, Olshey referenced Griffin, who played with Warren at Oklahoma. "I think his former teammate was here in L.A. rehabbing," Olshey said. "The first person I texted was Blake Griffin: 'We need to get him back playing the way he was playing when he was with you.' He said: 'Don’t worry, I’ve got that one.’
"AndWillie was very honest about that in the workout. We interviewed him three times. I think what happened was he played the two [spot] initially, and you were getting Blake Griffin and you were getting Taylor Griffin, getting double-teamed every possession. He was getting wide-open looks and knocking down shots, driving to the rim. Didn’t have as much ball-handling pressure. Then he went back to Oklahoma with the anticipation of playing point guard … and the shots aren’t coming as easily."