10. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn Nets) draft Donovan Clingan
Clingan was the backup center on UConn’s national championship squad in 2023 and expects to take over as the starter in year two. His limited playing time did not stop him from impressing. The 7’2 big man averaged 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in just 13.1 minutes per game as a freshman.
Clingan’s defense has scouts drooling. He has a reported 7’7 wingspan and terrific fundamentals. The 19-year-old is a rim deterrent who cleans the glass. Can he translate his stellar production into a larger role? If he does, Donovan Clingan will be a lottery selection on draft night.
How high Clingan climbs on draft boards will depend on his offensive game. He is a traditional big man who finished well inside but did not display much beyond dunking and getting putbacks. Can he add more to his skill set?
New Rockets head coach Ime Udoka wants his team to play elite defense, and the franchise needs a rim protector to make that a reality. Alperen Sengun stands in his way for playing time, but Houston has options at every position. They select Matas Buzelis with the second overall pick in this mock and add Clingan to further improve their defense and depth.