San Antonio native Jordan Clarkson declares for NBA Draft
With just two games left in the NCAA tournament, several players have already declared for June’s NBA Draft. For the second straight year, a San Antonio-bred prospect looks like he’s on track to being a first round pick. Current Missouri guard and Wagner High School alum Jordan Clarkson announced he will enter this year’s draft.
Clarkson is in the 6’4″-6’5″ range and is an athletic, versatile scorer. The question is whether he’s a big point guard or a slightly undersized shooting guard. If he can play point guard, then his size is terrifying for defenders. If he’s a shooting guard, then he’s a little bit more ordinary of a prospect. And that’s the dilemma with his projection right now. For instance, ESPN’s Chad Ford added this on where Clarkson fits in this year’s draft.
Most NBA executives told ESPN.com that Clarkson is considered a late first-round pick. He is a big, athletic guard who they project to be able to play either backcourt spot.
It’s important to note Clarkson is listed at 54 on Ford’s Top 100 prospects. That shows just how much of a crapshoot projecting the draft this early in the process is from about spot 20 to the end of the second round.
As for Clarkson’s credentials, he transferred to Missouri after two years at Tulsa and averaged 17.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists for the Tigers. He shot a career-high 45 percent from the field, but a career-low 28 percent from 3-point range. The All-SEC Second Team member also averaged a career high in steals and assist-to-turnover ratio, which jumped above one (1.27) for the first time in his college career. RealGM’s Jonathan Tjarks thinks Clarkson’s ideal role is running a team’s second unit.
“He could play as a big PG in a Mario Chalmers role or he could be an average-to-good NBA shooting guard,” Tjarks said. “My guess is he ends up coming off the bench and running a second unit.”
If drafted—and it’s pretty likely he will be—Clarkson will join former Wagner teammate Andre Roberson in the league. Roberson was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves and eventually landed on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Leading up to the draft, I thought Roberson would be a great fit backing up Kawhi Leonard. I didn’t write this to as a Clarkson to the Spurs column, though he is right in their draft range. If selected by San Antonio, Clarkson would be a curious fit in the short run. He’d join either Tony Parker, Patty Mills (assuming he re-signs) and Cory Joseph in the point guard group or Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli in the shooting guard crop. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t spend a year with the Austin Toros and then become part of the Spurs rotation the following year, when everyone’s contract is up.
But again, that wasn’t the point. Just wanted to alert the 48 Minutes of Hell readers who are in the South Texas area that another local product looks headed for the big time.
I haven’t seen Clarkson enough to make a player comparison, but here’s a highlight package from the Mizzou Network. I’ll let you make your own comparisons.