REPORT: Nets trade No. 27 pick, Mfiondu Kabengele, to Clippers for 2020 first-round pick & No. 56 pick
The L.A. Clippers came into Thursday night’s NBA Draft without a first round pick, but towards the end of the first round, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported a trade involving the Clippers and Brooklyn Nets.
According to Woj, the Clippers are sending a Philadelphia’s 2020 first round pick, acquired via the Tobias Harris trade, as well as their No. 56 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft for the Nets’ No. 27 pick tonight. With the 27th pick, the Clippers selected Mfiondu Kabengele from Florida State.
“It feels amazing,” said Kabengele after being selected. “You work your whole life for this. To have all my family and friends, and everybody watching back home supporting me, I’m just very grateful.”
Before everyone goes crazy over it, the Sixers’ 2020 first round pick is lottery protected for 2020, 2021, and 2022. If the Sixers haven’t conveyed that first rounder by 2022, they will instead send their 2023 as well as 2024 second round picks. Chances are, however, that the Sixers make the playoffs once again in 2020 and that pick ends up falling in the 22-to-28 range.
Kabengele is a 21-year old, 6-foot-10 power forward/center who played two years at Florida State University. He averaged 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game in 21.6 minutes per game during his sophomore year on 50.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc (34-of-91).
During the NCAA tournament, Kabengele led the No. 4 seeded Seminoles to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament this year, averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks per game on 55.6 percent shooting. Unfortunately, they were knocked out by Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.
Before the tournament, Kabengele was projected to be a mid-second-round pick, but he drastically improved his stock thanks to his strong performances throughout March Madness.
Kabengele has a standing reach of 9-feet, 1.5 inches and a wingspan of 7-feet, 3 inches. NBADraft.net highlighted some of Kabengele strengths, which include being a guy who makes the most of his limited time on the floor (sound like another backup Clippers big man?) while also bringing a lengthy, rim-protecting presence who can shoot the ball from beyond the arc.
“Lot of energy, lot of hard work, lot of growth,” added Kabengele on what fans can expect from him. “Just anywhere I can contribute.”
By trading for a first-round pick in Kabengele, the Clippers added a guaranteed contract on their books, which will have an impact albeit miniscule on their ability to offer two max contracts this summer. It does not, however, affect their ability to offer one max contract to a superstar player. It feels like the Clippers got a guy they really wanted, however, because aside from his talent, the team added some security to their youthful front-court in case the team can’t come to terms with restricted free agent Ivica Zubac this summer and unrestricted free agent Montrezl Harrell next summer.
Kabengele is the nephew of NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, who had this advice to give him.
“Just stay out of foul trouble, bring a lot of energy, and make sure you get iced up.”
Here are some of Kabengele’s highlights from his sophomore year at Florida State.