4. Brandon Clarke, 21st overall pick
The range of opinion on Brandon Clarke pre-draft was vast. Some had him in the mid-20s, others had him top-five. I fell in the middle, slotting him 17th. He was one of college basketball’s most productive players at a redshirt junior, but concerns about his frame and perimeter skill lingered.
Clarke seemed to silence doubts in Summer League, taking home tournament MVP and leading the Grizzlies to a Vegas championship. While Vegas doesn’t carry much weight in the actual NBA, it was an impressive display of NBA-ready tools on Clarke’s end.
At 6-foot-8, Clarke is a prolific rim-runner with unrivaled efficiency. His thin frame and short stature are minor issues, but his elite athleticism, impeccable timing and soft touch help offset the downside of being an undersized four-man who can’t shoot.
Speaking of can’t shoot, Clarke also hit a few triples. His mechanics are funky — a problem that has persisted since the beginning of his collegiate career — but there appears to be real progress being made. If he can reliably hit spot-up 3s, Clarke’s stock will skyrocket.
The Grizzlies are in the middle of a rebuild and should offer Clarke ample playing time. Jonas Valanciunas will limit our exposure to a potential Jaren Jackson Jr.-Clarke pairing, but the most recent Vegas MVP will get a strong dosage of playing time nonetheless.
Philadelphia doesn’t need more frontcourt pieces, but Clarke is ahead of schedule, a dynamic rim protector and an older prospect — all attributes the Sixers value. He can help anchor a defense and would have been an intriguing frontcourt partner with Ben Simmons.