PLAYA VISTA – Despite not having a pick in Thursday’s draft, the Clippers emerged with one player to bolster their backcourt with another expected to be on his way.
The Clippers purchased the No. 48 pick from the Milwaukee Bucks, drafting former South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell.
Thornwell, who spent four years with the Gamecocks, led South Carolina to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four in April and averaged 21.4 points and 2.1 steals while shooting 39.2 percent from the field.
“We wanted to add tough, competitive, hard-playing, high basketball IQ players to complement our team,” said Lawrence Frank, the Clippers executive vice president of basketball operations. “Sindarius has shown the ability to play multiple positions.”
The Clippers first saw Thornwell at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago in May, and brought him to Playa Vista for a workout.
“When we met with him in Chicago we just saw he fit the Clipper culture,” Frank said. “He’s gritty, grimy, we like that.”
The Clippers also struck a deal to acquire the No. 39 pick from Philadelphia. That pick was used to draft Oklahoma State point guard Jawun Evans. However, because of rules that limit the amount of money a team can spend in a calendar year to purchase draft picks, that deal is not expected to be finalized until after July 6.
As a sophomore with the Cowboys, Evans averaged 19.2 points and 16.4 assists. He was projected as a first-round pick in many mock drafts.
Hall of Famer Jerry West joined Frank and Doc Rivers in the Clippers’ war room. The 79-year-old Lakers legend was introduced on Monday as a consultant, similar to the role he held with the Golden State Warriors in recent years.
“It was great to have Jerry,” Frank said. “Jerry’s one of a kind.”
With the draft behind them, the Clippers will turn their attention to free agency. While eight members of last year’s 51-win team are entering free agency, none are more important than All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake…