Donovan Clingan was a collegiate star who played an essential role on UConn's back-to-back national championship teams. The Bristol, Connecticut native is now moving on to the NBA, and his draft projections are all over the place.

Clingan has all the intangibles and will be an elite defender the moment he steps on an NBA court, but he still has some developing to do offensively. His best fit is with a veteran team where he can contribute from the beginning without being relied upon to carry the team.

We've identified one team picking just outside of the lottery that is the perfect fit for Donovan Clingan in this year's draft. Keep reading to find out who this team is and why the former Husky should hope he falls to their pick or they trade up to get him.

Donovan Clingan draft profile

Donovan Clingan is an elite defensive player who is efficient in the paint offensively. He won’t create much, but the UConn star is incredibly effective at getting himself in position for high-percentage looks from teammates.

On day one, Clingan will likely be one of the top 25 or 30 defensive players in the league. He gobbles up opposing players' shots and is likely to be one of the best shot blockers in the Association from the moment he first steps onto an NBA court.

The big man does a great job of forcing opponents into foul trouble due to his physicality and offensive aggressiveness in the paint. He was able to score at will against Zach Edey during the NCAA tournament and he forced Edey into foul trouble which turned the tide of the game in favor of the Huskies. Clingan will likely take some time to adjust to the NBA level given the significant jump in defensive talent he will face. He’s still developing as a player, though, and once he adjusts, he should be able to hold his own offensively.

The best scenario for the former Husky is one in which he gets drafted to a team where he isn’t expected to be a star immediately. This will allow him to adjust to the game at his own pace and focus on what he does best for 15 to 25 minutes per night.

Where is Clingan likely to go in this year’s draft

Due to the relative weakness of this year’s draft class, Clingan has been projected all over the place. The Connecticut native has been projected to go anywhere from the first overall pick to the end of the first round. Mock drafts can be unpredictable, and the most likely scenario sees Clingan get drafted in the second half of the lottery, anywhere from the seventh pick to the 14th pick.

Teams will likely end up going in a different direction for the top five to seven picks because they’ll be looking for players with superstar potential. The former UConn Husky standout can absolutely be a difference-maker, but he’s unlikely to ever be a franchise player. This isn’t to say that he can’t reach those heights, but his skillset is more suited towards an elite role player or borderline star rather than superstar.

For this reason, teams picking early in the draft will likely talk themselves into guys like Alex Sarr, Rob Dillingham, Ron Holland and other guards or wings with at least one eye-popping skill or elite measurables.

What the Philadelphia 76ers need

The 76ers are one of the best teams in the association, but they still have the same Achilles heel that they’ve had since 2016: When Joel Embiid is off the court, the cities look absolutely lost. This resulted in the Cameroonian native needing to play heavy minutes, which only increases his risk for injury.

The best investment the Sixers can make is one that makes the team more resilient without their superstar while also allowing him to play fewer minutes per game. This means acquiring a reliable backup center.

While the Sixers could go with a guard if the right one falls, which wouldn’t be a terrible decision, Donovan Clingan should be the pick if he is available. Rob Dillingham has star potential from the guard position, but he could go in the top three. Even in this draft, it probably wouldn’t be the best use of the team's resources to trade up that far, particularly if Clingan falls to the second half of the lottery.

This draft has been much maligned, and there have been plenty of indications that teams don’t think particularly highly of the upper-echelon players in this year’s class. That could make it cheaper to trade up than it is for your typical draft class.

One or two second-round picks and perhaps an end-of-bench player might be enough to move five or six slots in this year‘s class. If that is the case and Clingan falls to the lower half of the lottery, the Sixers should be able to draft the Bristol native and address their biggest need for more than half a decade without giving up premium assets.

Why Sixers are a perfect fit for Clingan

Clingan would be best served by going to a team where he can develop at his own pace as a complete player while contributing on the defensive end and taking a vantage of easy opportunities in the paint on the offensive end. The ideal role would see Clingan playing between 15 and 25 minutes per night, which would fit perfectly with Philadelphia’s ideal plans for Joel Embiid.

When Clingan is on the court, he would be able to carve out a role as a dominant defender and opportunistic scorer, which will be invaluable as he adapts to the NBA. Asking too much of young players too soon is a great way to stunt their development, and the former Husky won’t have that problem in Philly.

If Donovan Clingan can progress to a point where he can be relied upon for 20 minutes per game, that would reduce Embiid’s workload to 28 minutes each night. For the Sixers, this would go a long way toward protecting their franchise player's health and keeping him on the court throughout the regular season and the postseason.