Wilcox hopes to work his way into rotation

C.J. Wilcox is ready to get started finding his place on the Clippers. Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Four days after being selected by the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA draft, C.J. Wilcox arrived in Los Angeles and got his first taste of life in the NBA.

When Wilcox was asked about making the two-hour drive north from his parents’ home in San Diego to Los Angeles, he smiled and said he actually took a 20-minute flight north.

“He’s in the pros now,” said Doc Rivers, who seated next to Wilcox at his introductory press conference. “A year ago he would have driven. Now he’s in the NBA and he took a chartered plane.”

Wilcox was shown around the team’s training facility on Monday and, in addition to talking to Rivers and some of the members of the front office and coaching staff, also chatted with Chris Paul, who came to see Wilcox after playing some pickup games with him in Agoura Hills, Calif. last month.

“He just came and worked out with the group we had in Agoura Hills,” Wilcox said. “We were playing one-on-one and then we ended playing four-on-four. It was just good to have a pro guy come there and show us the ropes and show us what works and doesn’t work. It was good to compete against him and prepare yourself for the next level.”

Wilcox comes to a Clippers team already fairly stacked in the backcourt, even after the team waived Willie Green on Sunday. The team plans on re-signing Darren Collison, who opted out of the last year of his contract, and is still interested in bringing back Green, meaning they could have seven guards at the start of training camp, including Wilcox and last year’s first-round pick, Reggie Bullock. Wilcox said being at the bottom of the depth chart and earning playing time as a rookie will be nothing new to him.

“When I got to [the University of Washington], there were six guards ahead of me at that time and I had to figure my way out and work my way into the rotation,” Wilcox said. “I think being in that situation helped me prepare for a situation like this. I’m just going to take it as a challenge and come in and work hard and squeeze my way in.”

Wilcox, who will wear No. 30, will play for the Clippers’ Summer League team in Las Vegas and Rivers said he hopes the experience of playing there will give him a head start in learning the team’s system before the start of training camp in October.

“I just told him, ‘Shoot every time,’” Rivers said. “That’s the same thing we told Reggie last year. If he passes up a shot, his teammates will have to run and he gets to watch them. So by the end of Summer League his teammates will either love him or hate him. I want him to be very aggressive. We want to put him in positions during the regular season and teach him some of our system. I think it’s great for guards in the Summer League because you can put them in some of the things you do. I think it’s terrific.”