Beat the clock: Clippers draft picks get cram session before likely lockout
With the clock ticking and a lockout by NBA owners likely when their current labor deal runs out June 30, the Clippers are trying to fit about four weeks of education into about four days
Rookie power forward Trey Thompkins and guard Travis Leslie, picked by the Clippers in the second round of Thursday’s NBA draft, met the media Monday at the team’s headquarters in Playa Vista after a morning workout session.
“Honestly, it really hasn’t hit me yet that I’m playing for the Clippers,” said Thompkins. “Probably when I’m practicing and start playing with Blake [Griffin], I think it will hit me.”
Thompkins plans asking Griffin, the NBA’s 2011 Rookie of the Year plenty of questions.
“I’m just going to pick his brain every day, the next couple of days before I leave,” Thompkins said. “I’ll be in contact with him just seeing if we can link up and work together and become closer and become better teammates.”
Wherever the Clippers players end up after the lockout, future practice sessions featuring Griffin and Leslie could become youtube.com classics. “He was one of the best dunkers in the NBA and I was one of the best dunkers in college basketball,” Leslie said.
Thompkins had an idea he might end up with the Clippers and he was emotional when it did happen.
“I was in Atlanta in a sports bar with my family members and when the Clippers pick came around -- I knew it was going to happen about a minute before they called my name -- and I just got down and prayed and cried,” he said.
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro felt that there has been enough of a foundation put down in May and June so that his players wouldn’t all go their separate ways and quit working together once July 1 hits.
“I don’t think that will be the case with Blake’s intensity in terms of his workouts and the way DeAndre [Jordan] is improving,” Del Negro said. “With the veteran leadership of Mo [Williams] and Eric Gordon and the guys we have, that won’t be the case and that’s something that has been instilled in them so far."
Photo: Clippers draft picks Travis Leslie (left) and Trey Thompkins. Credit: AP Photo / Nick Ut