Clippers remain intent on keeping No. 1 draft pick
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers remain intent on keeping the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and they’re expected to make Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin the top selection.
“The pick’s not going anywhere,” assistant general manager Neil Olshey said Monday.
Coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy said he hasn’t spoken to anyone seriously about trading the pick in more than two weeks. He and Olshey haven’t ruled out the possibility of acquiring another pick on or before Thursday’s draft.
“We’re going to try to jump into the draft,” Olshey said. “We’ve proven in the last year or so, we’re not afraid to make transactions. Some have worked, some haven’t. But we’ve been as active as any team in the league and we’re going to continue to do that straight through Thursday night.”
Dunleavy was so excited about the news that his team had won last month’s draft lottery that he told a reporter by phone that the Clippers would be taking Griffin.
Dunleavy was in Barcelona, Spain, when he made the announcement that violated the league’s policy forbidding teams from stating whom they plan on selecting before the draft.
So the Clippers got scolded for saying what they figured was going to be a foregone conclusion no matter what team held the No. 1 pick.
“We jumped the gun with our excitement, but with the luck we’ve had the last couple of years with injuries and everything else, it’s gone the wrong way so to have that kind of thing happen on draft night got everybody excited,” Olshey said.
“It was four in the morning in Spain when Coach made the comment so, I think if given a little more thought, we would’ve played our cards more close to the vest.”
The Clippers finished 19-63 last season.
During the NBA finals, the Clippers showcased Griffin during an open workout for media, season ticket holders and sponsors. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds as a sophomore for the Sooners.
To improve his stamina and strength, Griffin has been working out with a trainer known for putting clients through grueling eight-hour sessions.