A look at draft prospect Troy Brown and his potential fit with the San Antonio Spurs.
With the NBA Draft just a few days away, teams and front offices across the league are preparing to welcome a new cohort of young talent as they decide which prospect(s) can best help their respective ball clubs compete for a title. The San Antonio Spurs hold the No. 18 and 49 picks in the draft. One of their options in the first round could be Troy Brown, the do-it-all guard/forward out of Oregon.
Brown spent just one season in Eugene before deciding to test the NBA waters. The former Oregon Duck didn’t post eye-popping numbers, averaging 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game on 44.4 percent shooting. However, Brown, like many of the other prospects in this draft class, embodies an alluring style of play that foreshadows future stardom if he’s able to realize that potential.
The most prominent aspect of Brown’s game is his defense. At 6’7” with a 6’10.25” wingspan, Brown’s lengthy frame and active hands allow him to disrupt an opponent’s offensive rhythm. He’s a disciplined defender who rarely gets caught ball-watching and, with his size and speed, he’s extremely tough to beat on isolation plays.
Brown’s high basketball IQ also makes him a strong off-ball defender. As a freshman, he racked up 55 steals on the season, third-most in the Pac-12 Conference. Brown plays like a safety on defense, reading the player’s eyes and getting his hands in the passing lane to create easy buckets in transition.
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Offensively, Brown’s game needs some polishing and refinement, but with only one year of college ball under his belt this is to be expected. Currently, Brown doesn’t really possess much of an offensive identity but as he continues to develop he’ll learn how he best operates. He’s a smart off-ball mover and he can get to the rim as a slasher off the dribble-drive, where he has the strength and poise to finish through contact.
Shot selection is Brown’s biggest area of improvement. While Brown is certainly a capable shooter, he connected on an underwhelming 29.1 percent of his three-point attempts as a freshman. However, Brown’s shooting mechanics are sound and won’t require major adjustments as he adapts to the pro game. That said, gaining confidence in his outside shot and not settling for contested ones will be critical for Brown’s transition to the NBA.
From a systematic standpoint, Brown’s game lines up very well with the Spurs’ identity. Brown fits the role of a 3-and-D player and the Spurs need depth at the wing position, especially in wake of the news that Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio. As such, Brown could be pressed into service sooner rather than later. Modeling his game after two-way players such as Andre Iguodala, Brown prides himself on his ability to impact every facet of the game by doing all of the little things.
His length allows him to guard up to three positions: point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Further, his active hands and tenacious defense would fit right in with young players such as Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson who combined to average almost 3 steals a game last season.
Before hitting his growth spurt, Brown used to be a point guard. At Oregon, Brown excelled at operating in the pick-and-roll, dissecting opposing defenses off the dribble and finishing at the rim or finding an open teammate. Brown’s comfort as a ball-handler coupled with his passing acumen would create a more free-flowing Spurs offense laced with an array of versatile players who can all score and distribute.
While Brown is far from a finished product, with the 18th pick in the draft the Spurs can afford to select a player that may need additional development and a few trips to the G-League. Brown has a great defensive mind and has the potential to develop into a reliable three-point shooter as his game matures.
According to most mock drafts, Brown is not expected to be a lottery pick. He’s slotted fall somewhere in the mid- to late portion of the first round. Brown was one of the many risers who improved his draft stock towards the end of the year and he could be a sleeper pick if he lands with the right team.
There’s a strong possibility that Brown will be available for the Spurs at No.18 and the team should think long and hard about his potential fit in the Alamo City before passing on him.