Bruce Brown Jr.

NBA draft profile: Miami G Bruce Brown Jr.

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NBA draft profile: Miami G Bruce Brown Jr.

Bruce Brown Jr.

Position: Guard

Height: 6-5

Weight: 195

School: Miami

After his freshman year, Bruce Brown Jr. would have been a no-brainer first-round pick and most likely a lottery selection. Now, it would be a big surprise to see him go in the lottery, and even the first round is far from a sure thing.

There are two main reasons for Brown’s stock falling, the first of which is the regression in his play as a sophomore, especially his shooting. Brown’s three-point percentage dropped from 34.7 percent to 26.7 percent and his free-throw shooting went from 74.4 percent to 62.9 percent. The second reason is the left foot injury Brown suffered in late January, which caused him to miss the second half of the season.

There don’t appear to be any serious concerns about the injury for Brown, who worked out with the Sixers Wednesday. But questions about his shot and why he couldn’t build upon an impressive freshman year are certainly lingering.

Strengths
Brown is an outstanding athlete and competitor. He bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times at the combine, the most by any guard, and that's not at all surprising given the strength with which way he plays. He’s an intense, physical defender with a knack for turning defense into offense. For a guard, he’s an exceptional rebounder, posting 7.1 boards per contest in 2017-18. Offensively, Brown is a solid passer who’s comfortable in pick-and-rolls, which he ran a lot at Miami. He looks capable of being a secondary NBA ball-handler.

Weaknesses
His sophomore shooting dip is obviously a major worry. That 62.9 percent free throw percentage and the fact Brown made only 7 of 46 attempts from NBA three-point range last season are ominous signs. Like his teammate Lonnie Walker IV, Brown was inconsistent on offense. In 19 games last season, he shot 50 percent or better from the floor nine times and 25 percent or worse seven times. Brown has a variety of dribble moves, but his handle isn’t the most tight or fluid. His pull-up game, in terms of shot selection, rhythm and balance, has a lot of room for improvement.  Given how talented an athlete he is, Brown isn’t a great finisher (he shot 58.5 percent at the rim last season) and he doesn’t seem to like using his left hand.

NBA comparison
Brown has said he models his game after Russell Westbrook. He definitely has a little bit of Westbrook in him, especially with his intensity and explosiveness. He also seems to have some Westbrook-like confidence – he thinks he’s the best guard in the draft. And like Westbrook, Brown left college after his sophomore season without a great offensive résumé.

All that said, it’s not fair (or at all realistic) to compare Brown to a player who has averaged a triple-double in back-to-back seasons. Lance Stephenson is a much better comparison. Like Brown, Stephenson is a strong defender, excellent guard rebounder and subpar shooter. It’s important to note, however, that Brown won’t come with any of Stephenson’s notorious, ear-blowing antics.

How he’d fit with Sixers
On the defensive end, Brown will help any NBA team immediately. With his ability to guard one through three at a high level, he’ll have a role off the bench. There’s no doubt Brown’s defense and rebounding would make the Sixers better in two areas where they’re already strong. His athleticism would also be a boost for a second unit lacking in that department last season. 

Draft projection
Because of his injury history and disappointing sophomore campaign, Brown has a slightly wider range than most prospects. He’s expected to be taken in the late first or early second round. He could be an option at No. 26 for the Sixers, or he could be a potential steal at No. 38 or No. 39.  

More on the Sixers

6 prospects Sixers could target in 2018 NBA draft

6 prospects Sixers could target in 2018 NBA draft

After Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, we know the Sixers will hold pick Nos. 10 and 26 (see story). Here are six prospects that could interest them at those spots.

At No. 10
Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova

Bridges offers great size, length and athleticism. Those traits will allow him to guard one through four at the next level. He’s an ideal fit for the Sixers, who love to switch on everything. His shot and overall scoring improved each year he was at Villanova. He’ll need to diversify his offensive game a bit to earn more minutes at the next level.

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
The other Bridges is an explosive athlete with a thick frame. He’ll earn his money in the NBA on the defensive end of the floor. His shot is a bit inconsistent (38 percent from three) but his form is solid. The Celtics threw a whole bunch of athletes at the Sixers defensively during the Eastern Conference semifinals. Bridges could help the Sixers get on their level.

Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri
Chances are Porter won’t be there at 10, but it’s a possibility. Porter was one of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school. A back injury that required surgery forced him to miss all but three games during his freshman season. If teams are scared off by the injury, it could be an opportunity for the Sixers to swoop in. Porter will be too big for wings to guard and too athletic for big men. His jump shot is strong, but he’ll need to develop his feel for the game at the next level.

At No. 26
Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State

Coming from Boise State, questions will arise about Hutchison’s level of competition, but this kid looks like a player. He’s a long athlete that’s added muscle to his frame every year. He’s seen tremendous growth as a shooter and driver. He needs to develop his left hand a little more and could still stand to add a little more weight, but Hutchison is an intriguing prospect in the back end of the first.

Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami
Brown profiles more as an athlete than a basketball player at this point. His shot actually regressed in his sophomore season (35 percent to 27 percent from three), but the freshman year shows there may be potential there. Brown has proven to be a decent facilitator (four assists per game) and rebounder (7.1 boards per game). Like Miles Bridges, he’s an athlete that will add something on both ends.

Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova
DiVincenzo grew every season for the Wildcats, culminating in earning the Most Outstanding Player in the championship game. DiVincenzo is a tremendous athlete that provided Villanova instant offense and unbelievable energy off the bench. While his value will likely never be higher, the Michael Jordan of Delaware may choose to come back and help defend the Wildcats’ title. With that said, he probably has the tools to help an NBA team off the bench next season.