LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the NBA last season.
They’re hoping Washington sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox is an answer for those woes.
The Clippers selected Wilcox with the 28th overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, adding one of the Pac-12’s most prolific shooters in recent years to their roster.
“As far as shooting in this league you need it, you can never have enough of it,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought he may have been the best shooter in the draft. If not number one, then number two.”
Wilcox, a 23-yeard old shooting guard, is Washington’s record-holder for career 3-pointers. He made a school-record 90 3-pointers last year and shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range, second in the Pac-12.
The Clippers shot 35.2 percent from beyond the arc last season, 22nd in the league.
“(Defense) comes first,” Wilcox said, “but definitely my ability to shoot the ball is going to help stretch the floor and help Chris Paul and some of the other guys get going and make their job a little bit easier.”
Wilcox, who is 6-foot-5, 201 pounds, averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists last season as a senior with the Huskies and was named Second-Team All-Pac-12
The Pleasant Grove, Utah, native, finished second in Washington history with 1,880 points. He shot 43.3 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free-throw line in his college career.
In addition to his shooting prowess, Rivers pointed to Wilcox’s defensive potential as something that enticed the Clippers.
“He’s long, he’s athletic, and it’s rare when you get a shooter like that … that wants to defend,” Rivers said. “That’s a great combination. Most of the time you get a great shooter who can’t defend or a great shooter but not athletic. We have a great shooter who can defend and is athletic. I think that was important.”
The Clippers also picked a shooting guard with their first-round pick last year, taking North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock 25th overall. Shooting guards J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford are both under contract for next year as well.
“We have Jamal and J.J. but we felt C.J. was the best player available,” Rivers said. “I think you can always make it work when you take the best player available.”
“He has a tool, a couple of them, that can get him on the floor. He has size and he can shoot.”
Wilcox said he wasn’t happy with his pre-draft workout with the Clippers, but still had a good feeling his name would be called once they were on the clock.
“It’s actually funny; it was one of the worst workouts I had,” he said. “I walked out of there not too confident with how it went. But I spoke with my agent and he said they’d been watching me for a while and liked what I brought to the table so not to give up on them, and they ended up picking me. It’s just funny how things work.”
The Clippers did not have a second-round pick.
It was their first draft under a revamped front office.
Rivers assumed the role of president of basketball operations earlier this month, and general manager Dave Wohl, assistant general manager Gary Sacks and vice president of basketball operations Kevin Eastman have only been in their current roles since June 16.
“Things in the draft room were pretty much the same (compared to last year),” Rivers said. “The guys that were there last year were still there.”
Rivers orchestrated the front office restructuring with the team’s ownership situation in limbo. Clippers owner Donald Sterling sued the NBA and is attempting to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer.
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