In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s edition breaks down the work of Oregon’s Troy Brown.
Troy Brown has decided to enter the 2018 NBA Draft after playing a single season at the University of Oregon. He was the least efficient of their four primary producers on offense but it has to be noted that he was entrusted with an important role on an ambitious team, even though he played the entire season at the age of 18.
Versatility can take one a long way in the modern NBA and that could result in Brown being selected in the latter half of the first round. He profiles a little like Evan Turner (hear me out) in that he’s not necessarily a hyper-explosive athlete but that he is capable in just about every area of skill except for shooting. If it weren’t for Turner’s current contract, he would not be viewed so negatively even at this point in his career. He has been a helpful player on good teams across a number of seasons.
Brown is a little quicker at this point and will need to get stronger, which should happen somewhat naturally as he continues to grow, as to be able to handle all of the defensive wing assignments that he will need to as to realize his fullest potential.
He is a team-minded, hard-working player that understands the nuance of the game of basketball. These qualities position him to consistently make a positive impact on the court for his team.
Casual fans might not get very excited should the team they root for draft Brown because it’s not very often that he does something that stands out as an impressive feat of athleticism. But he is the type of player that teammates love. He works hard off of the ball, he moves the ball when that is the correct play and he makes up for his below average shooting by working hard on the offensive glass and getting on the floor for 50-50 balls to create extra possessions for his team.
He shot only 29.1 percent from beyond the three point line last season. But the form and mechanics look pretty clean.
If a shooting coach can help him get better and more consistent rotation into his shot, he could quickly improve that area of his play.
He consistently demonstrates awareness as can be seen on this play. He sees an interior defender getting back a little late and attacks the paint with dribble penetration while the defender still has his back to the play.
As a result, his defender is not able to get the help he would expect and Brown gets the mostly uncontested lay up.
The awareness and sense of urgency with which he plays can be seen on this possession as well. As soon as he secures the basketball, he sees the entire court and is able to identify and execute the hit ahead pass that leads to the easy bucket.
He does not demonstrate much in the way of sophistication operating in the pick and roll. But one of Brown’s strengths as a player is that he understands and operates within his limitations. He rarely if ever tries to make a play that he is not capable of making... a trait that will endear him to his future head coach.
Again on this play, he does not really flash anything special. But he is not hunting his own shot. He attacks with the dribble, gets penetration and reads the play correctly which results in as easy score for his teammate.
Brown was a willing enough shooter that opposing defenses still tended to try to chase him off of the three point line. He attacks the closeout with simple dribble penetration and uses his 6’10 wingspan to get the high percentage shot over the would be rim protectors.
This is another subtle but impactful play on the part of Brown. He recognizes that the opposing defenders are not doing much in the way of boxing out so he slips in and gets elbow to elbow (as to avoid the risk of a foul) which allows him to get the rebound and simple put back.
If the perimeter shot is taken while he is on the weak side, he does not just stand and spectate. He will seal the nearest potential rebounder and give himself as much of an opportunity to have the ball carom off in his direction. And once he secures the basketball, he sees the right play and executes it. The result is another open shot for a teammate.
He is not the freak athlete that most elite defenders are but he knows how to put his tools to work. He is relentless and does not give his opponent even a moment of a break. He will harass the player he is defending constantly.
Brown will offer his team an immense amount of positional versatility if he can just get a little stronger. And he does not turn 19 years of age until July.
He’s a good rebounder for his position and he demonstrates nearly perfect precision and decision making jumping passing lanes and looking for opportunities to strip the ball without taking ill-advised risks.
On this play, he appears to be sprinting back to help get set up for the half court defensive possession. But his excellent instincts are on display. As soon as the ball handler initiates a cross over dribble he uses his length to get a hand on the ball and creates an easy score in transition.
He is the kind of player regarding which opposing coaches will tell their players “Don’t like this guy lull you into these types of plays.” On this play, he intentionally displays a casual posture. He is exactly as deep in the formation and the defender near the ball. It’s a famous technique used to create the appearance of a safe passing lane.
But he is on the balls of his feet with his weight already distributed toward the passing lane. As soon as the ball is in the air he pounces right into it’s path and gets the steal and easy run out dunk.
If Brown can land with a team that can help make him a reliable perimeter shooter, and if he can further develop physically over the next few years, he might end up being one the best values in this draft class.
By all reports, he is a humble young player that is as selfless as they come these days. So don’t be surprised if he is not on the board when the Hawks are scheduled to pick at No. 19 overall.