At 6’8”, 205lbs, Kendall Brown was one of the nation’s most athletic and versatile defenders last season for the Baylor Bears. Projected as a late first-round pick, Brown has the coveted potential to become a 1-4 defender in the NBA. While raw on the offensive end, Brown’s incredible physical attributes and sneaky playmaking ability make him one of the most intriguing prospects in the NBA Draft.
Per Game: 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, 58.4/34.1/68.9 percent shooting splits
Advanced: 63.0 percent true shooting, 7.4 box plus/minus (3.7 offensive, 3.6 defensive), 4.0 win shares, .174 WS/40
Physical: 6’8”, 6’11” wingspan, 205lbs, 19 years old
With fantastic size and athleticism, Kendall Brown’s physical attributes stand near the top of his draft class. The combination of his great footspeed, leaping ability, and length give him the potential to defend positions 1-4 in the NBA. At Baylor, he showed the ability to use this athleticism to effectively switch in the pick-and-roll and act as a secondary rim protector. Jumping off of two feet, Brown has the ability to meet nearly any player he faces at the rim and swallow smaller guards. He does a solid job of using his length to disrupt shots and can even contest step-back and pullup threes. In short, he has the tools to make a defensive impact in the NBA. In the playoffs, athletic players tend to stand out, and I can see Brown filling a do-it-all role for the Jazz.
On the offensive end, Brown does a fantastic job of understanding his role. He knows when to dive to the basket for easy finishes and works well as a secondary driver. Brown’s finishing at the rim is fantastic and he’s able to use his athleticism for both creative layups and powerful dunks. His touch is surprisingly great and when he’s able to get into the open floor, he becomes an incredible lob threat.
But possibly most intriguing of all is Brown’s playmaking ability. He’s an eager passer and averaged nearly 2 assists per game in a very low-usage role. He makes quick decisions with the ball and has fantastic court awareness. While his passes aren’t always pretty, he’s able to find players from the dunker spot, off drives, and even in pick-and-rolls. Personally, I find that players who have a good understanding of their role and are adept passers tend to translate well in the NBA.
In many ways, Brown is still a raw prospect. On defense, his discipline has room to grow and he could improve as a team defender. He can get caught ball watching or fail to make the right rotation at times. Given that he’s only 19 years old, some of this should be expected. However, he displayed a willingness to work as a team player and I trust that he can improve in this department.
But more importantly, Brown must improve as a shooter. Last year at Baylor, Brown shot a respectable 34.1 percent from three, but an abysmal 68.9 percent from the free-throw line. He’s a bit of a streaky shooter and needs to find his range consistently to unlock his driving ability in the NBA. The ball sits in front of his face when he shoots and he seems to lumber through his form when he launches the ball. To me, it seems as if he pushes the ball forward instead of arching it out to the rim. His shot doesn’t look bad, but it will need some retooling to become more consistent.
I love the way Kendall Brown could fit on the Utah Jazz. Utah needs athleticism in the worst way and he fills that role. At only 19 years old, the holes in Brown’s game have time to develop and he could become a really valuable player for Utah down the line. Even if the Jazz need someone to play minutes immediately, Brown’s defense and athleticism will give him a fighting chance from day one. If the Jazz are able to make a trade into the back half of the first round, I would love to see them select Brown.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Royce O’Neale
All stats from sports-reference.com