Brandon Clarke Wins MVP for 2019 Las Vegas NBA Summer League Championship

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 15:  NBA Summer League co-founder Warren LeGarie (L) presents Brandon Clarke #15 of the Memphis Grizzlies with the championship game MVP trophy after the team's 95-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves to win the championship game of the 2019 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clarke was also awarded the 2019 NBA Las Vegas Summer League MVP trophy before the game. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Brandon Clarke cleaned up in Las Vegas, earning the NBA Summer League championship game MVP following the Memphis Grizzlies' 95-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.  

Clarke finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the win. He shot 4-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe while connecting on his only three-point attempt.

Grizzlies fans didn't get to see No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant suit up in the summer league after he underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee in June.

In Morant's absence, Clarke stepped up and was by far the best player in Vegas. In addition to being honored for his performance in the title game, the former Gonzaga star was named MVP for the event as a whole earlier in the day:

There's always the danger of reading too much into summer league. A lot of the players involved won't go on to have lengthy NBA careers (if they get to the Association at all), so the level of competition isn't very high. Compounding matters, Morant was one of many notable rookies who saw limited action or didn't play at all for injury concerns or load management.

In Clarke's case, it's too early to make him the 2020 Rookie of the Year favorite, but he showed why he can become an immediate contributor for Memphis. He exited Monday averaging 14.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in the team's six games:

Following a seven-year stretch in which they were a playoff team, the Grizzlies won a combined 55 games over the past two seasons. They traded Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors in February and sent Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz in June.

The franchise is staring at a lengthy rebuild as it looks to return to the heights of the Grit-and-Grind era. In Clarke, the fanbase now has one reason to think there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

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