Kendall Brown’s a pure athlete, needs to develop offensively

Sixers draft profile: Kendall Brown is a pure athlete who needs offense to develop originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

A scouting report on NBA draft nominee Kendall Brown:

Brown was a freshman for a surprise Baylor team that was seeded 1st in the NCAA tournament despite losing four starters from the 2021 national championship team. He is undoubtedly an NBA athlete but needs significant development in his offensive skills to become an NBA rotation player.

In 27 minutes per game at Baylor, Brown averaged 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 turnovers and a steal.

Strengthen

Brown is one of the best straight athletes in this draft class, a great lateral mover with the speed to fight at the three-point line and then recover on drives. He has a wingspan of 6-11 and can easily swallow smaller guards who try to drive past him. It’s not hard to imagine that with the right coaching and level of effort, he could become an elite wing defender.

He’s explosive on the move, an over-the-rim finisher who will also show Euro steps on his way to the basket to beat the last defender. If you only watched him during quick pauses, you would think he was undoubtedly a lottery winner. As a pure athlete (not an overall player), he reminds me a lot of Aaron Gordon.

Brown’s athleticism also helps him bring down the offensive glass, and he’ll make some high-level, quick passes from those rebounds to find open teammates. He is also an excellent editor. The 19-year-old has an impressive grasp of those aspects of the game that could be his bread and butter as an NBA roleplayer.

weaknesses

There’s a reason I look at Brown and say roleplayer. Despite his outstanding athletics, Brown didn’t show the offensive tools to be an NBA shot-maker or 3-and-D forward in his first season at Baylor.

He has a slow release on his jumper that is mechanical and often misses badly. He was even reluctant to attempt collegiate threes, shooting 34.1 percent on just 1.2 attempts per game. At this point, Brown is a poor shot from both the centerline and the three-point line. When driving he has difficulty going to the left and is also prone to turnover, often getting stuck if he doesn’t get to the basket.

His half-field offensive game still has a long way to go.

Fit

I wouldn’t be surprised if a team backed Brown’s athletic ability somewhere in his 20s on draft night. It makes sense for teams like San Antonio, Denver, Memphis and Oklahoma City that have multiple first-round picks.

The Sixers could use a winger like Brown, but in my opinion he’s just too far off offense to fit into the Joel Embiid/James Harden win-now timeline. They drafted Jaden Springer last season and watched him play in the G League for most of the season. Brown could use a similar spice and I’m not sure the Sixers can have the patience to let him develop.

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