Donovan Clingan may not be any better than Walker Kessler

The Utah Jazz may have a choice come the draft if Donovan Clingan falls to them.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament   - National Championship
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - National Championship / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Let's cut to the chase, I like Donovan Clingan and Walker Kessler. They are two very good young players and both seem like defensive dynamos. They're both guys who can anchor a defense and change the course of a game with the way they impact opposing teams and their offenses. There is even a thought I have about how each guy could play next to one another; similar to the Cleveland Cavaliers' use of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen or the Minnesota Timberwolves' use of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

The problem is, I don't run the Utah Jazz and so if the Utah Jazz did draft Clingan, the answer isn't to use him alongside Kessler, it's to replace him with Kessler. That may be the way to go long-term but we don't have a crystal ball. We don't know who will mature into the more reliable player.

On paper, they seem pretty comparable. They're both big, long, strong centers who seem to have a defensive focus as a player. Clingan has a better three-point shot, but as a center, it's only so good. Kessler is a better pure scorer, but mostly just due to his lop threat ability and his ability to excel in the dunker's spot.

Yet there's a strong reason against replacing Kessler with Clingan, and that's Clingan's apparent limited mobility. He's quick enough to shuffle over from spot to spot but he's not going to be the threat in transition that Kessler is. Despite his up-and-down second season, Kessler was able to show off his mobility and athleticism. That's something Clingan doesn't have. Not to the level of Kessler, anyway.

That doesn't mean Kessler will be the better player or the more reliable defender, it just appears they're so evenly matched that you have to look at them across all the variables to get a good idea of who you should go with. Considering Kessler's mobility, that's the pick you go with right now as there is no guarantee Clingan is as good as Kessler, let alone better.