Height: 6’5.75″ w/o shoes
Weight: 208 lbs.
Season stats: 31 minutes, 11.3 points, 3.2 assists, 6.2 rebounds, 44.4% FG, 29.1% 3PT, 74.3% FT
DraftExpress Rank: 18
Troy Brown Jr. was the first five-star recruit in Oregon Ducks history. Upon first watch, he doesn’t look like the quickest, fastest, or highest-leaping guy on the floor. Being a high-level athlete isn’t his best strength. Being a highly skilled player is.
Troy played point guard at high school, and fortunately, those skills translated. Imagine being a short guard working on your ball-handling, passing, and shooting, then having a growth spurt to nearly 6’6″ with an 8’9″ standing reach. He’s just some muscle away from being able to play power forward in the league.
The modern NBA rewards guard skills and wing size. Why? It allows for as much shot creation opportunity as possible while being able to defend multiple positions in the NBA. LeBron James in the Finals finds guys for open shots. Troy Brown shows that level of vision and passing.
Attacking the basket – He’s capable of changing directions before attacking in a straight-line drive. While he’s not the fleetest of foot, he does use his strength functionally to get decent shots at the rim. In fact, 40.7 percent of his total field goal attempts are at the rim and he converts at a 63.4 percent rate. A large amount of those shots come in transition.
Shooting – If there’s one area for improvement, it is shooting. At just 29.1 percent behind the arc, that level of accuracy is not going to cut it. Neither is the 34.6 percent from all other 2-point range areas outside of the rim. Fortunately, he’s working on his shot, with a much quicker release.
Playmaking – Playmaking, on the other hand, is Troy Brown’s greatest offensive strength. He punishes defensive mistakes through vision and passing.
Just look at the sequences that we see here.
Like this dive pass straight into the paint, as soon as the defense steps away:
Or sees the gap, attacks it immediately, then finds the open man after the defensive rotation was made:
Or how against this zone defense, one defender sways to his side, and he still sees the open shooter and makes the pass:
Or when double-teamed with an active dribble, he can do a drive-kick:
Here’s the follow up offensive rebound to the same play:
Or makes reads that are cross-court:
I know what you’re thinking. That’s a lot of gifs. You’re right it is. He created that many opportunities for his teammates, and I’m not even done with the first half of footage. His teammates didn’t make all of the shots off of his passes, but it wasn’t for a lack of being open. The passes were dead on.
That is point guard level playmaking. None of these clips were done with pick and roll play, where it could be easier to make the reads with repetition. In fact, you can even watch how he makes progressions with the location of his teammates relative to defensive positioning.
These are in different positions on the floor. They show how quickly he can read the floor and make a correct decision.
He’s underrated as a defender and makes reads on this end of the floor as well. Look how he reads this drive and picks up the tertiary option to contest the shot:
Or switches onto smaller guards:
With his size and a 2.9 percent steal rate, he’s switchable on defense and capable of creating events defensively. His head is on a swivel and he’s always engaged defensively. More strength would be helpful when defending bigs, but he doesn’t lack in motor, especially on the defensive end.
Fit with Lakers
The modern NBA is switching onto wing initiators. Ben Simmons does that for the 76ers. LeBron runs the offense for Cleveland. Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green split duty for the Warriors. There’s an emphasis on size due to the defensive versatility required for multiple positions. While LeBron is the best shooter of the trio listed, it’s the court vision and passing ability of all three guys that gets guys open shots.
Brown doesn’t have to live up to that level responsibility, but he exhibits that level of court vision and passing on the floor. Remember how I mentioned Troy Brown punishes defensive mistakes? LeBron James did the same thing in Game 1 of the Finals in a similar way.
Having point guard vision and passing ability from multiple positions just opens up the offense. It simply makes it easier to get guys open shots. If Troy Brown lived up to an expectation of having a Boris Diaw-like career with defensive versatility, he would be a steal pick at #25. His individual shooting may not be great, it’s wouldn’t be surprising to see his teammates field goal percentage go up.
To sum it up:
You can add strength.
You can develop shooting.
But you can’t teach that level of court level and passing at age 19.
(Much thanks to Cody Wright of @NBAdraftwire, House of Highlights @HoHighlights for the film work, and Hoop-math.com for the data.)