NBA Draft: 4 Centers the Washington Wizards Could Draft at #9

Washington Wizards Bol Bol (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bol Bol (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Washington Wizards Brandon Clarke
Washington Wizards Brandon Clarke (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

If the Wizards want to walk away from the draft with a player that can take the floor on night one of the 2019-20 NBA season and immediately contribute, Brandon Clarke out of Gonzaga may be their best bet.

As a senior Clarke posted some incredible numbers as a centerpiece on one of the country’s best teams. He had the highest Defensive Rating in the NCAA (84.0), the best Offensive Rating (137.9), the most blocks (117), and the most win shares (8.8). His player efficiency rating (37.2), effective field goal percentage (0.693), and box plus/minus were second only to Zion Williamson, the undisputed darling of draft night.

Clarke wow’ed in two major areas that the Wizards desperately need to improve: defense and rebounding. Of course, you would hope any player playing down low would immediately help out there, but Clarke is especially proficient. In addition to being the best defender in the NCAA, Clarke also posted his second consecutive season of at least eight rebounds a game.

The production was there in college. There’s no denying that Clarke was dominant on both ends of the floor. However, his 6’8″ and frame (6’8″ wingspan) leaves him undersized at the center position, where he played most of his minutes with the Bulldogs. Maybe he could be a small ball center ala Draymond Green, but that’d be asking a lot. There’s certainly no guarantee that could happen.

Clarke will be 23 by the time the next NBA season starts. He’s got a lot to contribute right away, but he lacks the upside that a lot of lottery picks come with. Clarke may have already reached his ceiling, or at least he seems a lot closer to it than Bol Bol or Cam Reddish. But there’s something to be said for drafting known ability instead of gambling on potential.