Brandon Clarke: Tools
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 has excellent speed for an NBA big man. He is able to coast at jogging pace down the floor in transition and still be effective. He has long legs and runs on the balls of his feet which allows him to glide while using minimal energy. When he needs to turn on the jets rolling to the rim, closing out to a shooter, or rotating weak side he will, displaying his blistering top speed.
His lateral quickness is not one of his stronger physical tools, but it is good enough to help him stay in front of most players on-ball given his good positioning, technique, and length. Switches hips quickly on-ball and rotates over in timely manner to help.
Clarke is a human pogo stick. He gets high up off the ground quicker than most guys and has a good second jump as well. He is solid leaping off of both feet. His one-foot leaping allows him to wrong-foot a defender and elevate over them off either foot. He would be one of the most devastating vertical athletes in the NBA if he had a larger frame, but will still be a good lob threat and weak-side rim protector.
Aiding Clarke’s leaping are his solid hands and ability to catch the ball from all types of unusual angles and promptly explode to the rim. He is good at slithering through tight spaces for buckets that are aided by his solid touch. However, Clarke will have trouble finishing through heavy contact, as he can be thrown off balance by bigger defenders. His body control, while excellent in space, will be dampened when hit inside.
Clarke’s frame is the crux for the case against his NBA success. He has limited functional strength in his 6’8, 215 pound body; it will likely limit him from playing center for major minutes. His overall skill set is better suited to the five than the four, so until his skill set develops into one better suited to play the four his frame will be seen as a weakness.