Credit: Campbell University Athletics

Chris Clemons Draft Profile

Breaking down the NBA potential of Chris Clemons

Senior 5’9″ 180 Point Guard Campbell 21 Yrs. Old
30.1 ppg 5.1 rpg 2.8 apg FG: 44.8% 3 PT: 35.7%

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Recruiting profile

NBA Comparison: Nate Robinson/Isaiah Thomas

Strengths: Shot creation, Volume scorer, Quickness/Speed

Weaknesses: Size, Offensive efficiency, Setting up teammates

One of the more interesting prospects in this years class, due to his 5’9″ 180 frame, Clemons led the country in scoring at over 30 points per game as a senior. The question NBA teams will have to answer is not whether Clemons can score, he has proven and then some that he can, it is can he score at the next level given the size disparity. At face value, 35.8% on three pointers from a point guard is not going to jump off of the paper, but you have to take into account that in his senior season Clemons took almost 12 three pointers per game. To put that into perspective, Stephen Curry, who had the green light of all green lights in his time at Davidson only took more than 10 in one of his three seasons while playing college basketball. Obviously the game has changed since Curry’s college years, having much to do with Curry himself with NCAA players attempting more three pointers than before, but it still gives you an idea of how much trust and weight was put on Clemons shoulders at Campbell. He is able to create and get his shot off against college competition without much issue, although it is hard to predict what someone his size can do when he is put on the court with the best of the best and not playing in the Big South Conference. When his shot is falling, Clemons is capable of putting up big numbers, and as with most volume shooters, when his shot is off it can lead to an ugly box score. Given the number of attempts, it should be promising to teams that he was able to bear that much of the offensive workload and keep his efficiency respectable which is no small task, even with not taking into account his height. In the open court, and with just a little space, Clemons is always a threat to get by the defender or stop on a dime and pull up, and that will be a big component of his game as his transitions to the professional ranks. On defense he will definitely struggle with the size of the typical NBA guards, although he has shown that he can get steals at the college level, something that he will have the opportunity to do as a nuance type of defender at the next level. 

In a perfect world, NBA teams would have liked to see Clemons be more a distributor at some point in his college time to give them an idea of how he could perform in that aspect of the game. Due to Campbell needing the point guard’s scoring on a nightly basis, this is something that we will have to wait and see how he performs when setting up his teammates becomes more of a focus with better players surrounding him. On the flip side, his role at whatever level he plays professionally, will still primarily be a scorer, while the other parts of his game improving will be a bonus if that does occur. As far as a jumper, Clemons is strong vertically and can dunk/finish at the rim with ease, which anyone under 5’10” who has played organized basketball knows, that is no easy task. 

This clip shows what he can do blowing by a defender and finishing with the dunk:

This clip shows off his range and clutch shot making ability:

Clemons is currently projected to be a late second round pick, but due to his 5’9″ size, he could also go undrafted. His athletic abilities, and the fact the kind of production he has had in college will have him consideration once the second round gets going. While players like Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas have had solid careers in the league, the number of NBA players 5’9″ and under is a very short list. He has a chance to stick in the league, it just will not be easy, and Clemons is used to facing that challenge after being passed over coming out of high school by major programs. His ceiling is a solid scorer coming off of the bench getting minutes, while making a positive impact when his shots are falling. His worst case scenario would be that he is unable to overcome his lack of size and can not create shots at the next level, making him unable to find his place in the NBA. 

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