By way of a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Los Angeles Clippers selected former Maryland basketball center Diamond Stone with the 40th pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Stone becomes the first Maryland player picked in the draft since the Phoenix Suns took center Alex Len No. 5 overall in 2013. Stone had been a projected first-round pick (and even a lottery pick) for much of the last year, so falling from the first round is a certain disappointment for the Wisconsin native.
Stone played one season in College Park. He was a consensus five-star center out of Milwaukee who picked the Terrapins over Wisconsin in something of a surprise, right as the 2015 NCAA Tournament was ending.
Stone’s college season was up and down, but he showed enough of the one thing everyone expected, offense, to make himself an attractive NBA prospect. One of the best skills Stone flashed at Maryland was an ability to thrive in pick-and-roll offenses and work well with talented guards. The NBA has plenty of those.
He scored 12.5 points per game on 57 percent shooting, and he was a consistent threat despite his rebounding, defensive and conditioning limitations. He’s raw, but he’s likely to score plenty of points as a professional.