The Wizards had enough depth issues on their roster to justify taking a player at any position with the 15th overall pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft. The guy they picked can play several.
Troy Brown, an 18-year-old freshman from Oregon, now heads to Washington with the ability to play shooting guard and small forward primarily, with the option to possibly swing to both point guard and power forward in a pinch.
For a team with a stated goal of playing more of so-called positionless basketball, that was too enticing to pass up.
"A lot of people are calling [it a] positionless game right now, so the more versatility you have and the more positions, the more skill you have, the more valuable you are," team president Ernie Grunfeld said.
Brown offers versatility on both ends of the floor. He is an adept rebounder and passer for his size at 6-foot-7. And his agility and 6-foot-10 wingspan allow him to guard a multitude of positions on defense.
"The way the league is going, you have to be able to guard multiple positions and he can do that," head coach Scott Brooks said. " I love the fact that he can guard 1, 2s and 3s and maybe some 4s depending on who he’s playing against."
"I just see myself as a player that can do everything on the court and bring versatility to the team. [I like to] be an offensive spark and even a defensive spark," Brown said.
Brown averaged 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game for the Ducks. He may not make a big impact scoring the ball early on, but should be able to contribute in a variety of ways.
The Wizards will practice patience, knowing his age and level of experience. Brown turns 19 in July.
"There’s definitely gonna be a learning curve," Brooks said. "We know we have a player that’s gonna work, that’s not afraid of work, that’s excited to work and we have a staff that wants to get better with him and I think he’s gonna really help our team develop into a team that can throw different types of players on the floor and they can play well with one another."
Brown's versatility goes beyond his physical attributes. The Wizards see a player well beyond his years in terms of basketball IQ. He is the son of two Nevada state correctional officers, which suggests a level of discipline. He speaks with maturity beyond his years.
The one position teams can't use enough of is wings and Brown will allow the Wizards to match up better against teams with unusual depth at small forward. The Boston Celtics come to mind with Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris.
The Wizards can now trot out lineups with a collection of versatile players around 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8 between Brown, Otto Porter, Jr., Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Tomas Satoransky.
Brown gives the Wizards depth behind Bradley Beal at shooting guard and that is paramount. Beal played the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player last season as his primary backup, Jodie Meeks, faltered. Meeks will also be suspended for the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season due to performance-enhancing drugs.
The Wizards have both Porter and Oubre at small forward, but their playoff series against the Raptors showed they need a third. Porter missed the final game with a leg injury and that left them perilously thin at the position.
Adding Brown gives the Wizards depth and options and those are always good things.
MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:
- Rooting for the Wrong Guys: Troy Brown is a Vegas fan
- Local Star: Kevin Huerter drafted early
- Just Missed: Former top prospect goes right before Wizards
- Early Trades: Two teams in top 5 swap selections
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