UTAH JAZZ

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: UConn C Donovan Clingan

May 23, 2024, 3:28 PM

Donovan Clingan #32 of the Connecticut Huskies...

Donovan Clingan #32 of the Connecticut Huskies (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – UConn center Donovan Clingan is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own the tenth pick.

The Jazz own three of the top 32 selections in the 2024 draft allowing them to add valuable pieces to their already young core.

Here’s how Clingan would fit with the Jazz if he lands in Utah in late June.

Related: Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft Prospects

Utah Jazz Draft: Donovan Clingan – C – UConn

Stats: 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists: .639/.250/.583

Strengths: One of the most productive players in college basketball, Clingan helped lead UConn to back-to-back NCAA Championships with his play on both ends of the floor.

Though he’s just 20 years old, Clingan will be one of the biggest players in the NBA as a rookie standing just under 7-foot-2, and weighing 280 pounds.

Despite his massive size, Clingan ran the floor well in college and was quick in his dives to the basket after setting screens well above the three-point line.

With better spacing in the NBA Clinga’s athleticism might look even more impressive as he generates easy baskets at the rim in transition and the pick-and-roll.

The Connecticut native doesn’t shy away from contact on either end of the floor as he’s happy to use his physical attributes to his advantage.

Clingan has an enormous 7-foot-6 wingspan and soft hands which allows him to catch entry passes to set up his scoring game with his back to the basket.

Though he’ll never be confused with Hakeem Olajuwon, Clingan has effective footwork to get to the rim where he can finish well with either hand.

While Clingan has an old-school back-to-the-basket game, he’s a strong passer wherever he catches the ball using his frame to generate dribble handoffs, find teammates cutting to the basket, and drop passes over smaller defenders.

Clingan’s biggest impact comes on the defensive end where he eats up an incredible amount of space and deters shots at the rim.

He isn’t the most graceful defender, but he contests a lot of shots at the rim with his 9-foot-7 standing reach.

Even when he gets beat off the dribble he has the coordination and length to make recovery blocks against smaller players attacking the rim.

Due to his size, hands, and athleticism Clingan is a good rebounder and will keep possessions alive on offense, and end them on defense.

Weaknesses: Though Clingan has better athleticism than most players his size, he’s not the most fluid athlete and that will cause him more problems in the NBA than it did in college.

His functional athleticism was on display at UConn, but his agility numbers were surprisingly poor at the combine.

Though he’s drawn comparisons to Rudy Gobert, he has far less switchability than the four-time Defensive Player of the Year and will play almost exclusively drop coverage in the NBA.

There were some hopes Clingan might develop as a shooter in his sophomore season with the Huskies, but the center made just two threes on eight attempts and shot only 58 percent from the free-throw line.

Opposing defenses will gladly send him to the free throw line in the NBA if that number doesn’t improve dramatically.

Clingan missed a handful of games in college due to foot injuries which didn’t prevent him from leading UConn to the national title, but at his size, it will be something to monitor throughout his career.

Despite being the most impactful player on the Huskies roster, Clingan never averaged more than 23 minutes per game in his two college seasons, and expecting him to play starting minutes early in his career might be a stretch.

Would Donovan Clingan Fit With Jazz In Draft?

Though most mock drafts don’t have Clingan falling to 10 where the Jazz are selecting, his size, defensive presence, and passing ability would all fill voids on the team’s lackluster roster.

Walker Kessler appeared ready to man the center position in Utah after a stellar rookie season, but a difficult sophomore year left the door open for the Jazz to replace him in the draft.

Ideally, Kessler would return to form and the Jazz could use their lottery pick to fill another need, but that’s far from a given, and Clingan’s offensive upside might make him a tantalizing target.

Clingan likely won’t develop into one of the elite centers in the NBA with the recent influx of super-skilled big men in recent years, but like Steven Adams, he may provide a reliable answer in the frontcourt for years to come, and there’s value in that in a weak draft.

The Dallas Mavericks had success this season by drafting Dereck Lively in a similar spot and proved that adding a massive rim presence is the easiest way to cover up other defensive woes.

Clingan is a longshot to land in Utah, but on the off chance he’s still on the board when the Jazz are selecting he’d be a solid, albeit safe selection.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: UConn C Donovan Clingan