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Rockets Select Familiar Target in New CBS Sports Mock Draft

Rockets Select Familiar Target in New CBS Sports Mock Draft
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The last time Donovan Clingan was playing in a meaningful basketball game, he was helping the Connecticut Huskies win the national championship. Clingan had 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the game, along with five rebounds, one block, and one assist, despite being in foul trouble fairly early in the game.

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The 7-foot-2 center is hailed as a surefire top-three pick in next month’s NBA Draft and reportedly has fans within the Atlanta Hawks front office, who have the first overall pick. However, the majority of mock drafts have the Rockets selecting him with the third pick, provided he’s still on the board when they’re on the clock.

Unsurprisingly, the latest mock draft from CBS Sports also has the Rockets taking the Connecticut center with the third overall pick. The synopsis is below:

“Clingan was one of the most impactful bigs in college basketball the last two seasons, and he helped key UConn’s title run this last postseason with a star turn as a defensive monster. He plays with great anticipation and his length affects how teams attack inside, making him an interesting if slightly out of the box pick for the Rockets here to pair next to Alperen Sengun.”

Clingan averaged 13 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.5 assists, 63.9 percent from the field, and .5 steals per contest in his second season with the Huskies. When converted to an NBA workload, Clingan’s per 36 numbers are even more impressive, as he averaged 20.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 2.4 assists, amd 63.7 true shooting percentage. 

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Clingan has drawn comparisons to Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert and Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, who the Rockets ironically pursued in the offseason last year. Clingan possesses the ability to be a true difference-maker on defense, which has sparked the comparisons, although he’s ways away from Lopez offensively, as he’s not a shooter, even in the slightest. 

There’s hope that he can round out long-term as a floor spacer, as ESPN’s Jonathan Givony stated that Clingan has turned heads and made strides in pre-draft workouts from a long-range shooting standpoint, which would be a true game-changer, as it would make the fit next to Alperen Sengun much more seamless.

Clingan could immediately fill in as a defensive anchor and rim protector, even in the NBA, which the Rockets don’t currently have on the roster. But again, there’s no guarantee that he’ll fall to the Rockets at No. 3.

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