Yes, I use an immersion chiller to cool the wort to under 80-degrees. Then I remove the chiller, give the wort a good whirlpooling, cover the wort, then let it sit for about 30-mins to let everything settle in the center of the kettle. I keep the wort covered while chilling/whirlpooling so nothing bad gets in.
Whirlpooling works well most of the time but I have had large objects like clove spices, etc., block the drain tube even when whirlpooling so I'd still recommend using some sort of a screen or hopblocker when brewing with spices or lots of hops. On the rare occasion when my drain tube was blocked I remedied the situation by transferring the wort with a standard racking cane and siphon hose. (side note: always have a racking cane and siphon hose nearby as a backup!) Eventually I will purchase or make something to help prevent these blockages but right now I'm being a tightwad.
Definitely use the 1/2" NPT x 3/8" ball valve attachment to transfer the wort to your fermentor. Without this part you wouldn't be able to attach a siphon hose. When using the ball-valve I use a short (4-inch) 3/8" hose to transfer the wort to my fermentor bucket in a "noisy" fashion that also helps aerate the wort.