The Spurs are up at the podium for their second of three 1st round picks, and with the 17th pick, they select Baylor’s Kendall Brown.
After a red-hot start early on in the college basketball season, fans have seemingly cooled off quite a bit on Brown, and I don’t think it’s entirely fair to him. There’s a significant chance he’ll end up being Baylor’s best NBA player to come out of this draft if he can develop his offensive game, but even if he doesn’t reach his ceiling, he provides the winning plays and athleticism that many NBA teams look for in a high-level role player.
Outside of his Jericho Sims-like bouncy athleticism, though, Brown has a fantastic basketball IQ for only being 18 years old and has great anticipation on defense. If he gets a steal in the open court, given his ability to take the ball down the court, dish out a nice pass if he needs to, and easily finish around the rim, it’s almost a guaranteed two points every time.
In terms of tangible basketball skills, his swing skill is his shooting. I’ve seen many players over the past few draft cycles described as “a jump shot away,” and I think that phrase is particularly applicable in Brown’s case.
At the 17th overall pick, the Spurs would be very hard-pressed to find another player that has the level of two-way upside that Brown has, and I’d argue his ceiling even competes with that of several players in the top half of the first round. This would be a fantastic value pick for the Spurs, period.