2019 NBA Mock Draft: Full first round as lottery nears

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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new york knicks
Gonzaga Brandon Clarke (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Brandon Clarke. 14. player. 18. . F. Gonzaga

Age: 23
Height, Weight: 6-foot-8, 215 pounds
Slash Line: .699/.286/.685
Season Averages: 17.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 3.1 BPG, 0.1 3PM

A 23-year-old player in the lottery? Brandon Clarke might be good enough to sneak into a group of freshmen and sophomores who are no older than age 21.

The Boston Celtics have this pick from the Sacramento Kings, and pending it does not move for Anthony Davis or another superstar, they can add to a roster of young talents that may not include Kyrie Irving by July, but still has Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford.

Clarke is not a stretch forward, with just 0.1 three-pointers made per game, which is, essentially, nothing. His impact was grand for the Bulldogs elsewhere, however, and he was better than teammate Rui Hachimura in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

A 6-foot-8 frame and 6-foot-10 wingspan can place Clarke off the center, but his 3.1 blocks per game are that of a rim-protecting big man. How that plays against NBA forwards and in smaller lineups remains unknown, but 15 total blocks in the NCAA Tournament, including five against a big Florida State team, could cast some of those doubts aside.

Clarke’s work inside the arc was consistent and terrific. There was the 36-point game against Baylor in the second round, an excellent 70 percent mark on two-point shots and 13 double-doubles throughout the year. His impact was always felt, and if something remotely close to this translates to the NBA, he can become an effective player.

Plus, if that outside shot develops, Clarke can become a versatile player for the Celtics or whichever team between 10-to-20 selects him in June. It probably won’t be the New York Knicks.