Brandon Clarke, who made a huge impact during his one year on the court for Gonzaga, did the same thing for the Memphis Grizzlies this season, and the rest of the NBA took notice.
Clarke finished fourth in NBA Rookie of the Year voting. Memphis teammate Ja Morant received 99 of 100 first-place votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Miami guard Kendrick Nunn was second, followed by New Orleans forward Zion Williamson.
Clarke was one of the most efficient players in the league, averaging 12.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in just 22.4 minutes per game. His 61.8% field-goal shooting established an NBA record for rookies who averaged at least 10 points per game. He made 36% on 3-pointers and 76% at the free-throw line.
Clarke had six second-place votes, 32 third-place votes and 50 points overall. Morant received 498 out of 500 possible points.
Nunn finished with 204 points and Williamson had 140. Chicago’s Colby White was fifth with three points.
Clarke was selected 21st overall, 12 spots after Washington took GU teammate Rui Hachimura – the first time the Zags have had a pair of first-round selections. Williamson was the No. 1 pick, followed by Morant. Nunn went undrafted in 2018, and he’s still considered a rookie because he didn’t play in a game that season. White was the seventh overall pick.
Clarke, who transferred to Gonzaga after playing two seasons at San Jose State, averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Zags in 2019.
Memphis (34-39) missed out on the playoffs after falling to Portland in a Western Conference play-in game.
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