You come to this mock draft looking for information you can’t find elsewhere, and I take that seriously. Brown is a prospect I’d imagine few people know much about, as he was hidden away on a frustrating Oregon team all year. So I went back and watched the Ducks’ second-round NIT matchup (the first NIT game I’ve ever dreamt of watching) with Marquette to see Brown’s progress for myself.
I wasn’t pleased with what I saw, but it was enough to keep him in the middle of the first round and matched up with Phoenix, where he could fit beautifully. Whereas early in the season, Oregon’s lack of offensive talent could be used as an excuse for Brown’s lack of production, it wasn’t the case by the end of the year. MiKyle McIntosh’s development into a go-to scorer (or the team’s closest thing to a scorer) provided structure for Oregon, and Brown was still unable to take advantage. It is time to worry that Brown is too passive rather than a victim of circumstance.
When he operates a pick-and-roll, an opportunity he gets for four or five possessions each game, Brown has a frustrating habit — after failing to turn the corner on his defender — of completely spinning around and turning the drive into a post-up. While one of Brown’s strengths is indeed his ability to play-make with his back to the basket, he deprives himself easy shots at the basket by giving up on drives too early.
Of course, Brown also shot 29 percent from 3 this season, meaning defenses don’t respect him as a deep threat either. Altogether, this means he’s not really earned much respect from them at all as a scoring threat. While there is a fearsome play-making forward somewhere inside of Brown, it hid inside of him throughout his freshman season.
NBA spacing and pace would help his game more than another year in the Pac-12, and Phoenix values offensive versatility more highly than most franchises, so the fit here works even though Brown is clearly a project.