With the 2018 NBA Draft around the corner and the Portland Trail Blazers holding the 24th selection in the first round, we’re looking at a number of prospects who might fall into that area. Today we stay within the state of Oregon, looking at University of Oregon freshman Troy Brown.
Troy Brown - Freshman, Oregon
- Height: 6’7”
- Weight: 215
- Wingspan: 6’11”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: SG/SF
- Age: 18
- Projected draft range: 14-24
- PPG: 11.3 | Per 40: 14.5
- RPG: 6.2 | Per 40: 7.9
- APG: 3.2 | Per 40: 4.1
- STL: 1.6 | Per 40: 2.0
- BLK: 0.2 | Per 40: 0.3
- FG%: 44.4
- FT%: 74.3
- 3P%: 29.1 (32/110)
Troy Brown entered this season as one of the top commits to ever sign at the University of Oregon. He’ll leave as the first “one and done” players in the university’s history. Brown was a starter right out of the gate for the Ducks and solidified a permanent spot in the Top 5 throughout the season. He finished the season second on the team in minutes and kept up a consistent level of play through the regular season. During the PAC-12 conference tournament and Oregon’s run in the NIT, Brown slipped, shooting a combined 13-41 over the 5 game stretch. Oregon finished 23-13, losing in the second round of the NIT.
Brown has a guard’s game in a forward’s body, which immediately translates well to most NBA teams. His Basketball IQ is high. He creates for his teammates. Looking at Brown’s 3-point percentage, it’s easy to say that he’s a non-shooter, but his problem lies in consistency rather than a lack of ability to shoot a basketball properly. His form looks good and his shot rarely looks off immediately after the release.
Brown is a crafty finisher around the basket. Although he is not strong, he does finish through contact well. At 6’7, Brown has a great size for a player that could play either wing position. His wingspan of just under 7 feet makes him that much more intriguing. Size and length complement Brown’s activity in the passing lanes and on the glass. Brown is a capable of grabbing a defensive rebound and pushing the ball up the court into a primary offense. High steal and rebounding numbers should translate to the next level. He was also a smart team defender this season. The guy knows how to play on both sides of the court and does so unselfishly.
Although Vegas native isn't a stiff, he’s not a particularly good athlete either. Brown struggled scoring the ball, finishing fourth on the NIT-bound Ducks in points per game. A good portion of his success scoring came on the drive, but Brown is did not show much ability to gain an advantage off of penetration. He instead relied on creating contact and using his balance and ability to finish with contact to score. Without an ability to gain an advantage on the drive, his thin frame is going to make it hard to bully bigger defenders at the next level. The 3 point shot needs work, even if it is not as bad as the percentage shows. Brown also had a tendency to get himself in trouble offensively, making poor reads with the ball. His 1.29 assist-to-turnover ratio is not very good for a player that gets so much recognition for his passing ability and high IQ. He is a better team defender than he is a one-on-one defender. He is solid, but on ball, he could struggle with quicker guards.
Brown’s game is unique. If I had to give a player comp, the closest I could get is Kyle Anderson but with more athleticism and a smaller build. Brown’s ability to slot at either wing position, and defend a point guard or a small ball power forward in the right matchup makes him valuable to a lot of teams. The question about his success will come with his ability to score the ball. Right now, he doesn't project as a NBA level shooter or driver, but he is crafty enough that he could find a niche. At just 18 years old, there is plenty of time to correct his turnover problems and shooting woes. Very rarely do you ever find someone with good shooting mechanics at 18 that is not able to iron out a few kinks and become a capable shooter. That high IQ and work ethic give hope that he would make those strides. If Brown is able to tighten up those parts of his game, his Swiss army knife of talent could make him a very interesting player for any NBA squad.
Brown is projected to go earlier in the draft than 24, but he would only need to slip a few spots to end up in range of Portland’s pick. If he did fall to 24, few other players could would surpass him at that point. Defensive flexibility would provide a nice addition in Portland, as would his ability to give meaningful minutes at small forward. Although he is taller and longer, Brown’s skill set is similar to that of Evan Turner. Redundancy is not necessarily ideal, but having a more polished version of Brown on a team may speed up his learning curve.
Portland already has a plethora of wings who don’t create much on the dribble and don't space the floor, so it’s hard to see Brown as a short term, “win now” option. Grooming him as a future starting 3 or a versatile 2-3 swingman of the future would be a more likely plan.
Would you draft Troy Brown? How would you feel if the Blazers did? Let us know in the comments below