Brandon Clarke had a delayed start to the NBA Summer League while waiting for his draft-night trade from Oklahoma City to Memphis to become official on July 7.
That limited the former Gonzaga standout’s practice time leading up to Summer League in Las Vegas and Clarke was on the sidelines for the Grizzlies’ first game.
None of that prevented Clarke from being named Summer League MVP on Monday afternoon.
Later in the day he had 15 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies to the team championship with a 95-92 victory over Minnesota.
Clarke also had three blocks and four assists to earn the championship game MVP.
Clarke also had three blocks and four assists to earn the championship game MVP. He had four double-doubles in the tournament.
“I feel like I’ll just fit in perfectly (with Memphis) because his system (that of Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins) and his culture is similar to what it was like at college at Gonzaga,” said Clarke. “It was just really fun playing for him. He was just a really great coach. Every day he was up to play hard and up to get us better. It was awesome playing for him.”
The Grizzlies, who led by as many as 17 points, led by only two after the three quarters, but got a boost from Grayson Allen, who scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and deflected the ball away to keep Minnesota from taking a last-second shot.
“He’s played in lots of big games, he’s just somebody that’s used to making those big shots, making those big plays,” Clarke said. “Adding him to the team is something that’s gonna be really big for us.”
Bruno Caboclo and Dusty Hannahs also had 15 points for the Grizzlies, while Tyler Harvey added 12 points and five assists.
Memphis tied its league-high 31 points for a quarter when it opened the game with a 31-19 edge after one, while its 56 first-half points were a new team-high for the 11-day event.
The Timberwolves, who went into the game as the lone undefeated team, clawed their way back into the game behind the hot hand of Kelan Martin, who drained three 3-pointers in the third quarter. Minnesota cut Memphis’ lead to one point six times.
“We tried to find a way to come back and we didn’t, we came up short,” Timberwolves coach Pablo Prigioni said. “Credit to them, they were better. They showed all tournament long, they fought to the end, so nothing we can ask more. It was a hell of a summer league.”
Martin led five Timberwolves in double figures, finishing with a game-high 19 points.
Jordan Murphy scored 14, Mitchell Creek had 13, Barry Brown Jr. chipped in 12 and Keita Bates-Diop finished with 10 for Minnesota.
Former Gonzaga standout Rui Hachimura was named to the second team. Hachimura made 50 percent of his shots while averaging 19.3 points and 7 rebounds for Washington, which drafted him ninth overall. He played in three of five games.
Hachimura was joined on the second team by Miami’s Chris Boucher, New Orleans’ Jaxson Hayes, Portland’s Anfernee Simons and San Antonio’s Lonnie Walker IV.
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