PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers selected Washington guard C.J. Wilcox with the 28th pick of the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound shooting guard, who averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his senior season, was one of the best shooters and defenders left on the Clippers' board when it was time for them to draft, and the latter was a big reason why Clippers coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers decided to pick Wilcox.
"I just talked to Doc and defense was the first thing he brought up," Wilcox said. "It's something I'm definitely capable of doing. That comes first. My ability to shoot the ball is going to help stretch the floor, help Chris Paul and some of the other guys get going and make their jobs a little bit easier. I just want to do my part, fill in my role and go from there."
Wilcox set Washington's career record for 3-pointers with 301, which was also good enough for sixth in Pac-12 history. He is also Washington's second all-time scorer with 1,880 career points. He is one of only three players in Pac-12 history with at least 1,800 points, 275 3-pointers and 400 rebounds during his career.
The Clippers were expected to go with a frontcourt player, considering their depth in the backcourt and their lack of size up front, but Rivers was also looking for a shooter and Wilcox was one of the best long-range shooters on the board.
"C.J. is a great shooter and I value shooting," Rivers said. "You know, when you're at 28, I don't think you can afford to pick [for] what needs you have. I have never thought that. A great example is last year, when we picked Reggie [Bullock]. We didn't need a three at the time; we had [Jared Dudley] and thought we were going to get that, and Matt [Barnes]. We have Jamal [Crawford] and J.J. [Redick], but he's the best player, and I think you can always make it work when you can get the best player, and I thought as far as for shooting, in this league, you need it, you can never have enough of it, and I'm a big believer in it, and I thought he may have been the best shooter in the draft, if not No. 1, No. 2."
Rivers said the Clippers were looking at a couple of deals on draft day that did not involve trading their first-round pick; in fact, one deal actually involved them getting a pick, but at the end of the day, they didn't make any moves outside of selecting Wilcox with their lone draft pick.
Wilcox, who was with his family in San Diego when he was selected, said he knew the Clippers were interested in him and would be an option if he was still available when they picked, but said he had one of his worst workouts for the Clippers.
"I walked out of there, not too confident with how it went," Wilcox said.
That didn't matter much to Rivers, who saw enough of Wilcox on film to know he was a gifted shooter that would fit the Clippers.
"I try not to pay much attention to the workouts because it's three-on-three, you can't do a five-on-five, and so you try to watch the film," Rivers said. "I'm a big believer as a coach, I make the final pick, but I'm a big believer that that's what your scouts do. They bring it to you, they narrow it down for you. I think coaches for the most part mess the draft up because they'll watch one workout with a three-on-three and fall in love with a guy, and you can see the scouts are saying, wait a minute, we've seen guys for a year-and-a-half and two years 20 times. You've seen a guy once. So that's basically what we've done two years in a row."
When Wilcox was asked what current player he sees himself becoming in the league, he wasn't shy about picking some of the better outside shooters.
"I've heard Danny Green, but I feel like I'm a little better with the ball than he is," Wilcox said. "I've been compared to Ray Allen at times with the way I come off of screens, Rip Hamilton, guys who use screens really well and are able to knock down shots."
Wilcox was a fifth-year senior at Washington who will be turning 24 in December, but believes his game still has plenty of room for growth and is looking forward to learning from Paul, who he has worked out with before, and Jamal Crawford, who he has played with in Seattle during the offseason.
"I've seen all the stages," Wilcox said. "I've gone from not playing to kind of playing to starting to being the guy. I've seen all the different stages. I come in with a different approach and a different understanding of how things work sometimes -- not always getting what you want. I had to work from the bottom to the top. That's kind of always how I've been. Even though I'm 23, I feel like my game can expand in so many ways."