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2024 NBA Draft Profile: Donovan Clingan

What are the chances the Grizzlies could draft the Huskies’ big man? If it’s me I’m drafting the 7’2″ center yesterday…
By Luke Hatmaker - March 30, 2024, 8:00 am - 1 comments
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The player: Donovan Clingan

The school: University of Connecticut (UConn)

The position: Center

The comp: If a more athletic Walker Kessler and a meaner Jakob Poeltl performed ‘The Fusion Dance’ from Dragon Ball Z

Here’s the way I see it. When preparing for the NBA Draft teams have two options or strategies…

1) You decide to draft the best player available. Regardless of fit. Regardless of area of need. Regardless of position. Doesn’t matter. You’re drafting the best guy. There’s going to be a bit more risk here—should be obvious—but still… It’s a solid path.

Or…

2) You draft based on an area or position of need for your team. Needing a point guard? Draft the best one. A big man? Draft the biggest one you’re able to. Need a certified bucket-getter? Go get them. I’d argue this is your ‘safer’ bet.

Depending on the direction you decide to go—and draft position—there’s going to be options. A large chunk of them based on thee Grizzlies current odds. So which way are they leaning?

Well, if it were me… And it’s not mind you… I would be drafting by position of need. And for the Grizzlies that’s center. So if it were me? And let’s say the draft pick ends up being round abouts picks 5-10…

I’m drafting Donovan Clingan. And i’m not thinking twice about it.

Clingan is in the middle of making his name known on a national scale at this current time. And as such there are lots of different teams getting eyes on the 7’2″ center. 7’2″. Can you imagine that kind of size on this squad?

I can. It’s one of the things I spend a decent amount of time on. Thinking about what this team is missing to make that deep championship run.

Donovan could be that missing piece, I have zero doubt about that. Look at what he’s done in his two seasons with the Huskies and tell me I’m wrong.

Here were his averages his first year at UConn… 6.9 PTS, 5.6 REB, 0.5 AST, 0.4 STL, and 1.8 BLK. Paltry right? Sure. But his second year in school, Clingan unlocked another level to his game.

Donovan’s per game numbers this past year—as a sophomore—were the following… 12.6 PTS, 7.4 REB, 1.6 AST, 0.5 STL, and 2.4 BLK. Near doubling your point and block averages from the season before?

That’s not an easy task to complete. It shows a level or dedication and maturity that you want on your NBA team. That you want in your draft pick.

For his own part, Clingan is doing what he can to make sure teams remember him come draft night. If you’re taking recency bias into account…

Look no further than what the young man did in the Big East Tournament—and is doing as we speak in March Madness. Against Marquette in the final of the Big East bracket here’s how Clingan performed…

22 PTS, 16 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, and 2 BLK. That’s what you can call ‘balling out when the light’s are brightest’. You know—which is what you need. He’s continued that stellar level of play into the NCAA tourney as well.

How’d he play against Stetson in the first round of the Huskies’ bracket? 19 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, and 1 STL. Pretty good. But it was in the round of 32—against Northwestern—where Clingan’s hoop prowess was on full display.

He performed to the tune of the following in that contest… 14 PTS, 14 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, and 8 BLK. That’s not a type. The dude was two blocks away from a stinkin’ triple double.

We saw everything Donovan brings to the table in that game. Both his offensive ability… 71.4% from the field, 100.0% from the charity stripe. As well as his defensive cabalities… Again, 8 blocks people.

Did he cool off a little in the Sweet 16 against San Diego State? The answer is… I guess? 8 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, and 1 BLK is still a statline I’d take out of center anyday.

More than stats though, something about Clingan feels… Let’s say ‘Memphian’. He plays with and edge and a mean streak in games which is awesome. And odd considering I don’t know many 7’2″ dudes that play like they have a chip on their very tall shoulders.

But that’s the level of ferocity he seems to play with. And you won’t hear me complaining. If the Grizzlies wind up in the draft order where we all think they’ll be… Well everything that I’ve mentioned above should be a mark in the ‘pros’ column if this were a pros and cons list.

Thing is… With Donovan Clingan, the level of difficulty is increasing when it comes to finding cons in his game. It’s all pros for me. We’ll see if we can say the same for Memphis come draft night.

I for one, would love nothing more than to see Clingan striding down Beale St. But that’s one homer’s opinion.

Photo Credit: (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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  1. A tremendous presence in the middle. They want to come at him? Go ahead. His timing is impeccable. For a big man he plays so intelligently. What a difference from this year to last year. He will be missed. It’s been a pleasure watching him mature as a player