We’re going straight to the source with this one, but, from all indications, it looks as if Gonzaga big man Brandon Clarke had a private workout with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon. Clarke posted on his Instagram story him on the Suns’ practice court, where the on-site pre-draft workouts have almost always taken place.
Brandon Clarke was at the Suns’ facility presumably for a private workout. Phoenix also met with Clarke at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 10, 2019
Even though it would be perceived by some as a reach, Clarke is the best fit for immediate impact at No. 6. pic.twitter.com/2lIc2aHL1L
Clarke, whose range appears to be anywhere from 10-14 right now, also met with the Suns at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last month. Selecting Clarke at No. 6 would be a “reach”, but after the top three or four players in this year’s draft, it’s a crapshoot to say how everyone’s boards look. This year compared to any other in recent memory, there seems to be a heavy divide on prospect rankings.
Could this be the case with Clarke and the Suns? Absolutely, because, if you survey the prospects and who fits best immediately, Clarke is the immediate qualifier. He will be 23 years old at the start of next season, but his defensive versatility and basketball IQ make him an ideal frontcourt pairing alongside Deandre Ayton long-term. And if he’s able to eventually stretch the floor, Clarke’s upside seems to solidify as a valuable two-way role player at minimum.
This past season for Gonzaga, Clarke averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.2 blocks in 28.1 minutes. Whenever you watch Clarke, his on-court impact stands out within a few possessions. Clarke is a prospect who always makes the correct reads and does the little things to help you win, a trait not seen enough of right now on the Suns’ roster.
Phoenix appears to have legitimate interest in Clarke, whether it’s at No. 6 or in trade back scenarios. Along with Tennessee forward Grant Williams, these are two names to monitor if the Suns do indeed move out of their current draft slot.
North Carolina point guard Coby White, whose range appears to be anywhere from 7-11, worked out for the Timberwolves on June 7. Clarke then visited the Suns less than 48 hours later for a private 1-on-0 workout setting. If we want to talk about hypothetical trade scenarios, Minnesota stands out. The Timberwolves need to find their point guard of the future, and they will probably need to leapfrog Chicago at No. 7 to reel-in White.
Would the Suns be intrigued by the possibility of moving back to No. 11 and still landing the prospect they might want in Clarke? If Phoenix was able to draft Clarke all while picking up another future first-round pick, that’s an amazing move.
Anyways, plenty of scenarios to comb through between now and June 20. Only Culver and Clarke are the only known prospects who have had private workouts with Suns brass.
Would Clarke be worth the investment at No. 6, Suns fans? On my final big board, which will be releasing this week, Clarke actually ranks at No. 6 overall.
Update: Clarke spent all day Sunday with Suns management, then worked out in a 1-on-0 setting Monday afternoon. Clarke once more posted on his Instagram story for proof. The interest appears to be very strong from Phoenix’s point of view with him as a legitimate option.