2019 NBA Draft: 5 Big Men Options for Atlanta Hawks at #10 Overall

Brandon Clarke Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Brandon Clarke Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft
Brandon Clarke Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Brandon Clarke

First up is Gonzaga University’s Brandon Clarke, who erupted as one of the best players in the nation during the 2018-19 college season as the best player on one of the best teams in the country (finished #2 overall in KenPom’s team rankings).

Though many of the postseason awards went to his younger, heavily lauded teammate Rui Hachimura, it seems that NBA teams are just a wee bit higher on Clarke’s future in the league than they are on Hachimura’s.

Hachimura is a fringe lottery pick, while Clarke is widely slated to be taken in the mid-to-late lottery at the latest. For the Atlanta Hawks, we have previously mocked Clarke to the Hawks in the 2019 NBA Draft with the Mavs pick.

Why would Clarke be a good fit on the Atlanta Hawks? For one, he is a truly astonishing defensive prospect with amazing speed and anticipation with natural athletic gifts that allow him to move laterally with fluidity while also producing stunning explosion off one or two feet to challenge shots around the rim.

Beyond that, Clarke’s offensive production in his lone season at Gonzaga means he is far more than a defensive one-trick pony. Per Bart Torvik, Clarke was tops in the NCAA with a 16.6 box plus/minus – which was tied with the historic production of Zion Williamson last season.

Furthermore, Clarke’s offensive rating per Bart Torvik of 134.3 was actually higher than Zion’s and Jaxson Hayes’s (who we’ll get to later). That rating ranked 6th overall in the nation. His field goal percentage at the rim (also per Bart Torvik) was a lofty 79.7 percent, second only to Arkansas’s Daniel Gafford among player who attempted at least 200 shots at the bucket.

Clarke’s lack of traditional center size and length might’ve been a problem in the past, but in the modern NBA, nabbing a swiss-army-knife defender who also happens to be a historically good finisher in the paint would make for a terrific choice for the Atlanta Hawks at #10 in the 2019 NBA Draft.