Height: 6’8” Weight: 207 Wingspan: 6’8” Age: 22 College: Gonzaga Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Brandon Clarke was one of the most efficient players in college basketball this year, and affects the game on both ends. He averaged 24.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per 40 minutes while shooting 69% from the field, and winning the WCC Defensive player of the year. He can help a team with his roll gravity, finishing, rim protection, and defensive versatility. He can hurt a team with floor spacing, and getting muscled by strong bigs. His best role in the NBA will be as a play finisher that scores in pick and rolls and on dump offs, and a rim protector. Although he has a 6’8” wingspan he had 4.3 blocks per 40 this season. I don’t see why that shot blocking won’t transfer to the NBA despite his lack of length. He is definitely one of the most versatile defenders in the draft. My favorite part about Brandon is how he always gives 110% effort and seems to be a great teammate.
Brandon is one of the most versatile defenders in the draft, and a great fit for the modern NBA. He will be great as a small ball 5, especially versus teams without a 5 that’s huge. He can guard 1-5, and defends the pick and roll great. He is also one of the best rim protectors in the draft, and rim protection is somehow still underrated on defense. He had 4.3 blocks per 40 which just makes a huge difference. Not only does he block shots, he changes them also. Brandon is always giving 100% effort on the defensive end, which will make many coaches trust him there. My one worry with him is getting bullied in the post by bigger 5’s. He only weighs 207 pounds with a 6’8” wingspan, and there are many 5’s that can take advantage of that. If he’s not paired with someone bigger than him, then he could struggle defensively defending the post. His offensive skill set right now is more typical of a 5, so if he’s with someone bigger than him they need to be skilled and able to space the floor. You don’t want to play Brandon with another guy that can’t space the floor because that will kill a team’s offense. He would fit perfect with a big guy that can shoot and defend the post (Brook Lopez for example). This way the big can guard the 5, while Brandon can guard smaller perimeter players because of how well he moves his feet. Offensively the big would play on the perimeter while Brandon would play around the basket and as a pick and roll man. He could definitely guard the 5 in some matchups, but versus the few teams that go inside a lot he could struggle mightly defending the 5 in the post.
Brandon isn’t a play creator offensively, but is an elite play finisher. He scores most of his points on cuts, transition, offensive rebounds, and as the roll man. He scored some posting up in college, but I don’t see posting up in the NBA at all, other than versus switches on guards. He was in the 98th percentile as a finisher overall this year. He only uses his right hand but he is a great finisher versus contact, and has very quick hops. He also soft touch on floaters which is important for him on short rolls that he has a floater as an option. He’s great in transition because his effort and speed for a big guy. He sprints the floor every time and beats other bigs guys down the floor for easy dunks. In the halfcourt he knows how to be in the right place at the right time, and because of this he gets very easy dunks off lobs or drop off passes from guards. He has constant energy on the offensive glass and had 4.4 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes last year. He has very quick hops and great timing which helps make up for him being undersized. Where I think he’ll be utilized most in the NBA is as the Pick and Roll man. He was in the 78th percentile as the roll man last year, but that doesn’t include his roll gravity. He has great roll gravity because of how much of a lob threat he is. This causes wings to have to help on his roll which opens up three point shooters. He will be very valuable in this role in the NBA, and he is also great at knowing when to slip screens.
Brandon is a very efficient player that plays with great effort. If he is paired with a big 5 that can shoot he will be very valuable right away. He reminds me a lot of Dwight Powell who is becoming a very solid NBA player. However the difference that makes me worry about Clarke is Dwight Powell has a 7’1” wingspan. I still think Brandon could be a solid starter in the NBA if paired with the 5 man he needs to be with. However if he’s not paired with a 5 man like that I see him being an efficient backup 5 that brings energy off the bench. He has the athletic ability of a wing, so he improves his shooting and ball handling he could be very good there, however he has a lot to improve on in those areas, so I see him more as a small ball 5.