When the Memphis Grizzlies traded to select Brandon Clarke in the 2019 draft, the new front office laid out a plan they would follow in future drafts: If the front office identified a player they wanted, they were willing to drop out. future assets to draft them. Brandon Clarke rewarded the confidence of the front offices by being part of the All-Rookie First Team. He endured a bit of a second slump, but bounced back well last year to have the best campaign of his career. It’s a contract year for Brandon Clarke and a huge opportunity to reward the Grizzlies’ confidence in his game and establish himself as a key part of the Grizzlies’ core going forward.
Brandon Clarke’s extension was a talking point before training camp, but the Grizzlies handled it professionally, and there’s optimism a deal will be done before the week’s deadline. next. Clarke clearly wants to stay with the Grizzlies and a key part of the Grizzlies’ future is securing him on a reasonable contract. He’s a great short-term partner with Ja Morant and Tyus Jones, and the Grizzlies can only benefit from signing him to a long-term deal. The hope is that Clarke will be a key part of many a playoff campaign to come, and I’m confident both sides will put the money to work.
Clarke proved himself worthy of a long-term contract in this year’s Timberwolves playoff series. He averaged over 16 points per game and nearly 4 offensive rebounds per game. Those second-chance opportunities were crucial in knocking Wolves out of this series. Clarke showed how impactful he could be when it mattered most. His dynamic and energetic play was one of the main reasons the Grizzlies won a competitive first-round playoff series. Clarke is expected to be a key playoff contributor as the core Grizzlies continue to grow.
With Jaren Jackson missing the start of the season, a big question has been who will start four for the Grizzlies in his absence. Clarke’s name has been mentioned as a potential starter, but heading into opening night, it looks like he’ll likely remain on the bench. The spacing issues with Adams and Clarke on the floor are real, and Clarke has always been more productive off the bench. The most likely scenario is Santi Aldama starting at 4, and the Grizzlies keeping Clarke on the bench to provide consistency and continue to be an effective rebounder and lob threat. The Grizzlies like Clarke off the bench where he can do most of his damage and I expect it to stay that way.
One area Clarke can improve is his three-point shooting. His rookie season, he shot 35% on three of 64 attempts, but only 22% on 22 shots. Clarke doesn’t have to be a three-point shooter, but if he can just replicate his rookie production from three, it will go a long way to opening up his game. A lot of that will be more willing to shoot at from three. If he can increase his attempts and shoot a reasonable percentage of threes, Clarke will be a legitimate sixth candidate.
Brandon Clarke was a member of the 2019 draft class that started a new era of Grizzlies basketball. He was able to bounce back from a lackluster second campaign. Clarke showed he was part of a bright future for the Grizzlies; if he can make a jump, he’ll be in line for a huge, well-deserved payday.