Kendall Brown, 6-foot-8, 205 pounds, was one of the nation’s most athletic and versatile guards last season with the Baylor Bears. A late first-round pick, Brown has the coveted potential to be an NBA 1-4 guard. While rusty on offense, Brown’s incredible physicality and sneaky playmaking make him one of the most intriguing rookies in the NBA draft.
Averages: 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, shooting 58.4/34.1/68.9%
Advanced: 63.0 true shooting percentage, 7.4 plus-minus (3.7 offense, 3.6 defense), 4.0 win shares, 0.174 WS/40
Build: 6’8″, 6’11” wingspan, 205lbs, 19 years old
With his amazing size and athleticism, Kendall Brown’s physicality ranks at the top of his draft class. The combination of his excellent foot speed, jumping ability and size makes him capable of defending 1-4 in the NBA. At Baylor, he demonstrated the ability to use that athleticism to effectively transition the pick-and-roll and act as a secondary rim protector. Brown jumped from two feet and could meet almost any player he faced at the rim and gobble up smaller guards. He does a good job of using his size to disrupt shots, even challenging step-backs and pull-up 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 playing an all-around role with the Jazz.
Offensively, Brown has done an excellent job of understanding his role. He knows when it’s time to jump to the basket and finish with ease, and he’s done well as a secondary driver. Brown’s finishing ability at the rim is excellent, using his athleticism to create creative layups and powerful dunks. His touch is surprisingly good, and when he can get to the open floor, he can be an incredible lob threat.
But perhaps most interesting is Brown’s playmaking. He’s an eager passer, averaging nearly 2 assists per game in a very low usage role. He makes quick decisions on the ball and has excellent court awareness. While his passing isn’t always pretty, he’s able to find players from dunks, drives and even pick-and-rolls. Personally, I find that players who have a good understanding of their role and are good passers tend to translate well in the NBA.
In many ways, Brown remains a raw prospect. On the defensive end, his discipline has room to improve, as a team guard, he can improve. He sometimes gets caught looking at the ball or fails to make the right spin. Given that he’s only 19 years old, some of that should be expected. However, he has shown a willingness to work as a team and I believe he can improve in this department.
But more importantly, Brown has to improve as a shooter. Last year at Baylor, Brown shot a respectable 34.1 percent from three, but only 68.9 percent from the free-throw line. He’s a somewhat inconsistent shooter who needs to constantly find his range to unleash his NBA driving ability. When he shoots, the ball is in front of him, and when he fires it, he seems to stagger through his body. It looks to me like he’s pushing the ball forward rather than arching it to the basket. His shooting looks good, but needs some tweaking to become more consistent.
I love how Kendall Brown has adapted to the Utah Jazz. Utah needs athleticism the most, and he fills that role. At 19 years old, Brown’s holes in the game have time to develop and he could be a real value player for Utah. Even if the Jazz need someone on the court right away, Brown’s defense and athleticism will give him a fighting chance from day one. If the Jazz can make a trade in the second half of the first round, I’d love to see them pick Brown.
Alpharouq Aminu, Royce O’Neal
All stats from sports-reference.com