Brandon Clarke: Intelligence
Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.
Clarke is skilled at getting his defender up in the air and using fakes to warp the defense. Off-ball he is constantly looking for ways to create space for himself via cutting, screening or sealing his man. He also has a good feel for the help he draws and will hit teammates one pass away when he draws help. Sometimes he can get in the way of teammates when hunting for easy scores or rebounds, a small area of improvement for him.
Clarke will be ready to contribute from day one on the defensive end on defense because of his excellent awareness. Sometimes he can overhelp and lose track of his man, but this rarely happens as a result of Clarke not being engaged in the play. Instead it occurs because he gets caught playing with fire and gets punished for what was a calculated risk. His mistakes are generally ones coaches can live with, and even these instances are fairly rare.
Clarke is a scoring-oriented player, and so sometimes this can lead to forcing the issue on offense. If he sees a sliver of daylight in the defense he will sometimes try to slither through it instead of making the easy pass. He is by and large good at making the right play, though. His decision making is solid on defense, as he possesses a solid understanding of when to sell out as a help defender and when to hang back.
Clarke’s solid decisiveness allows him to appear even quicker than he actually is at times. He quickly formulates a plan of action and does a good job sticking to said plan. He rarely commits halfway on a defensive rotation or stops short of cutting for a pass or sealing his man for a post entry.
Anticipation (A to C)
Clarke’s excellent anticipation is most obvious on the defensive end when he starts his rotations to contest shots well before the offense knows what hit them. He also does this well on-ball, which helps him stay in front of smaller players despite the occasional disadvantage in quickness. He is good at foreseeing when he will be open if he cuts or seals in attempt to create a passing lane. On the other hand, his anticipation is merely average with the ball in his hands. Sometimes the ball leaves his hands early when he senses help, but his recognition of how he warps defenses on-ball is not at the level of his prowess on the defensive end.