Friday, June 12, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects: Derrick Brown, Xavier

Stats: 13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.7 t/o's, 50.4% FG, 43.3% 3PT, 74.1% FT

Listed Size: 6'7", 225 lb, 9/7/1987 (21 years old)

About Him: Derrick Brown is an interesting prospect. While he is only a junior in terms of basketball, he has already received his degree (he redshirted his first season) and is all but guaranteed to stay in the Draft. As a prospect, he doesn't have a terribly high upside, especially offensively, where is game is still quite raw.

We will get to that in a second, but the area that Brown looks like he could be the most effective in the NBA is on the defensive end of the floor. Brown is as good of an athlete as there is in this draft. Standing over 6'7" barefoot, Brown has a wingspan of 7'2.5" and a standing reach of 8'11.5", giving him outstanding size and length for an NBA wing. He is strong, quick, and an excellent leaper, which combined with the excellent defensive system he played in at Xavier makes Brown look like he could be a real stopper down the road.

The problem is that athletes like this are all too common in the NBA. In order to lock up a first round selection, a player needs to have a solid all-around game offensively or be able to do one thing exceptionally well. Brown has neither. To his credit, he did show some improvements as a junior. For starters, he has developed his perimeter shot enough that you have to get out and defend it. He does not have the greatest form, and his release is pretty slow, but he shot 43% from three (making more than one per game) as a junior. With continued work, he could develop into a threat from the NBA three point line.

Off the dribble, Brown is a much worse shooter. He will knock down some tough ones every once in a while, but in general he doesn't not shoot well off the dribble.

He also does not get to the rim all that well. His first step is above-average, but he is too dependent on going left (he is a lefty) and at times is not aggressive enough attacking the basket. His handle is also lacking, and he can get out of control when he goes to the basket. For a guy with his length and athleticism you would think he would be dunking over people at a much higher rate than he actually did.

While Brown developed a pretty decent perimeter game for the college ranks, his biggest problem is that he still doesn't really have a feel for being a three; he is more like a four man with a face-up game. Think about it like this: he plays more like Chris Bosh than he does a guy like Hedo Turkoglu right now. At 6'7", he can get away with that at the college level. But he is going to need to become a much better perimeter player - improved handle, better jumper, better 1-on-1 player - if he plans on being any more than a reserve.

Comparisons: Best Case: I've seen shorter Robert Horry quite a bit, I like James Posey more; Worst Case: Bill Walker, Joe Alexander (too early to judge those two, but similar skill sets).

Bottom Line: Brown's athleticism alone could land him in the end of the first round, especially in a weak draft like this. One last point: there is something to be said for guys that are proven winners. Brown played in a program that was as successful as almost any in the country. He knows what it takes to win, and he knows how to fit in on a roster full of talent. Being a "team player" is a very important trait for the guys at the end of the first round and start of the second. You don't want to waste guaranteed money on a guy that's going to be a cancer if he isn't going to give you 20 and 10.


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