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NBA Summer League: Brandon Clarke and Josh Perkins impress in debuts

The former Gonzaga standouts are still good at basketball.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 3 - Memphis Grizzlies v LA Clippers Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

A little more than three months after walking off the floor of the Honda Center in their final games as Zags, Brandon Clarke and Josh Perkins returned to action wearing new colors and playing with new faces.

The 21st pick in the NBA Draft, Clarke had to wait a little longer than many expected on draft night, and because of the trade executed by the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire his draft rights, had to wait a little longer for the NBA’s new league year in order for him to formally join his team.

Clarke wasted little time showcasing his prodigious abilities, however, once he took the floor as he helped the Grizzlies defeat the Clippers 87-75 en route to 17 points (7-11 FG) and 4 rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Clarke made his first four field goal attempts, flashing the athleticism that delighted Gonzaga fans throughout last season.

It should come as no surprise to Zag fans that Clarke was a devastating and efficient force throughout the night, with 15 of his 17 points coming in the first half as the Grizzlies didn’t push him much in the second.

That he sparkled in his debut without the benefit of playing next to the #2 overall pick from the draft in Ja Morant should leave Memphis fans salivating at the possibilities presented by their two new talents.

For his part, Josh Perkins took advantage of his opportunity after the Charlotte Hornets held him out of action on Saturday night. Perkins turned some heads after notching 14 points (4-7 3PT), 5 assists, and 2 steals in a 106-96 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

“I was really impressed with Josh, especially after not playing yesterday,” commented Hornets summer league head coach, Ron Nored.

Yes, it’s the Summer League, but taking the floor in an NBA game is still a milestone achievement nonetheless. For Clarke, it was the first of many such games as he will be provided many opportunities thanks to his status as a first-round pick. As an undrafted free agent, Perkins won’t have the same luxury, so it’s vital that he take advantage when the minutes are provided to him. Sunday was a good start.

Perkins and the Hornets will take on team China on Monday at 8 p.m. PT, and the game can be viewed on ESPNU. Clarke and his Grizzlies squad enjoy a day off on Monday before tipping off against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. PT on NBA TV.