NBA Draft: Memphis Grizzlies Should Expect a Lot from Brandon Clarke in Year One

Memphis Grizzlies NBA Draft prospect Brandon Clarke (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies NBA Draft prospect Brandon Clarke (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Memphis Grizzlies NBA Draft Brandon Clarke
Memphis Grizzlies selected Brandon Clarke at No. 21 in Thursday’s NBA Draft (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /


Brandon Clarke led the NCAA with 117 blocks, which is the same number of missed shots he had all last season. In addition to his 34” vertical, he elevates quickly and has a great second bounce. 6’8” is undersized for what you would typically think of as a traditional rim protector, but Clarke anticipates, covers ground with outstanding lateral quickness, and has the leaping ability to challenge any shot. He is a good post defender, but will need to add size and strength to hold up to bigger, more physical matchups in the NBA.

On the perimeter, his rare combo of size and athleticism give him the versatility to guard multiple positions without getting mismatched off of switches. He has great footwork, keeps his body in front of defenders and does a good job of contesting jump shots. Clarke should be able to guard the two, three, and four positions, and even hold his own against a lot of fives, especially as he gets stronger over the next couple of years.

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On top of all the physical gifts and basketball IQ he has, Brandon Clarke just plays hard on every possession. He takes charges, dives after loose balls, runs the floor, fights through screens, and does all the little things. He brings energy and intensity every time he steps out on the court and has the mentality you want (and that Taylor Jenkins has been preaching) on a young team that’s going to have to fight through the 2019-2020 season.