The Hawks hold the rights to the #8, #10, #35, #41 and #44 picks in the upcoming June 20 NBA Draft. At Hawks.com, we’ll be talking to some of the writers and bloggers who watched some of this year’s key prospects most closely.

Today we speak to Keith Ybanez (@slipperyk), Editor, SB Nation affliate of The Slipper Still Fits, about forward Brandon Clarke.

What does Brandon Clarke do well?

Clarke is an elite athlete, and he uses that athleticism most effectively when protecting the rim on the defensive end. The numbers he posted at the NBA Combine in terms of his vertical jump and agility drills were not surprising to anyone who watched him play in college, and that explosiveness allows him to cover a lot of ground around the paint to contest shots and challenge any player at the rim despite not having great length. He’s also one of the best I’ve seen at making second and third jumps in quick sequence. What makes him an elite rim protector, however, is that he’s able to pair his prodigious physical talents with excellent timing and an uncanny feel for blocking shots. When you put those traits in a single player, you get someone who led Division I in blocks last season while setting a new single season blocks record at Gonzaga. Here’s a fun stat: he had as many blocks (117) as he did missed field goals during his entire junior campaign.

How does his game translate to the NBA?

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Clarke will be able to make an immediate impact at the defensive end for all the reasons stated above. Not only is he an elite shot blocker, but he’s very good at defending the pick and roll and taking away angles when hedging or helping. He also proved on multiple occasions that he has the chops to cheap nba jerseys from china
defend smaller players on the perimeter in isolation. His next coaching staff will appreciate the versatility in defensive coverages that he affords, and they’ll be able to keep him on the floor because he consistently makes smart basketball plays within the team structure while playing with maximum effort. He’s a very capable scorer in and around the paint, featuring good touch on floaters, jump hooks, and up-and-unders. He’s also an absolute menace in the pick and roll on the offensive end, and will provide a lot of highlights finishing lobs.

What can he do to improve?

His shooting has come a long way from where it was prior to transferring to Gonzaga, but it remains the area in his game that requires more development. He successfully overhauled his shooting mechanics during his redshirt year after transferring from San Jose State, and now has a much better foundation moving forward. He was comfortable taking open jumpers last season, but he simply needs more reps with his new mechanics in order for his shot to become more reliable. He’s not going to be invited to the three-point competition during All-Star weekend, but he’s capable of becoming a shooter that opposing defenses at least have to respect.