Name: Troy Brown
College: University of Oregon
Position: Small forward/Power forward
Dimensions: 6’6.75” tall, with a wingspan of 6’10.25”, weighing 208 pounds
Stats: 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 2.5 turnovers in 31.2 minutes per game. Shot 44.4% from the field, 29.1% from three (3.1 attempts), and 74.3% from the free throw line (3 attempts).
Troy Brown is a very smart basketball player. He has a great sense of what is happening on the court, and how plays are going to develop. This can easily be seen through his passing, which is skilled technically, but also works on a level a step or two ahead of most of his peers. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens and uses that to his advantage when reading a defense. While not a LeBron James or Ben Simmons level passer, he’s well, well above average for his size and position, and projects as a plus playmaker at the NBA level.
Troy has the size, length, and lateral quickness to guard both small forwards and power forwards in the NBA and will probably do a serviceable job on shooting guards who play off-ball as well. That defensive versatility is a prized commodity in the NBA right now, and while Brown doesn’t have the athleticism to be a lockdown defensive player, he has smarts and dimensions to compensate. More importantly, that ability to switch across several positions and at least do a reasonable semblance of sticking with larger or smaller players is vital for today’s switch-heavy NBA.
On offense, Brown is an effective if inconsistent scorer. He has good handles for a player his size, though he lacks the quick first step to take advantage of defenders in space. Nonetheless, he can handle the ball quite a bit, and is an able runner of the pick and roll. Brown uses his size and strength to finish inside, being more than capable of going up strong through contact. His strength around the basket is another tool that will let him play some power forward, even without the “stretch” component. While he was a below average three-point shooter, his solid free-throw shooting bodes well for his capability to improve as a shooter in the future.
Brown’s best strength is his versatility. He piled up rebounds, assists, and steals in college, providing value across the board rather than just in one area. He can pass, he can score, he can play defense, and he can even run a little offense. Adding to all that, Troy is a mature, intelligent person on and off the court who seems to have a real desire to prove and improve himself and has already impressed beat reporters in media availabilities. Finally, Troy is one of the youngest players in the draft, as he won’t even be 19 on draft night. He has years and years to improve, and fears about his shot and athleticism could look foolish in just a few years, when he will still only be in his early 20s. There’s a lot of projection that you can build into a not-even-19-year-old, and Brown is no different.
Troy has two massive weaknesses. The first, and most important for his NBA career, is that he was a well below-average shooter at Oregon. His shot is slow and a bit wonky, as he doesn’t repeat the same motion consistently. If he’s going to be a legitimately good NBA player, he will need to work on that shot a lot. Fortunately, plenty of players before him have come in with somewhat odd, ineffective shots that were revamped within a year or two. Brown simply must have a dedicated shooting coach and spend a lot of hours in the gym. It’s not like he’s a non-shooter ala Michael Kidd-Gilchrist-- he just needs some tweaks. But if that shot doesn’t develop, Brown will probably never be a starting level player in the NBA. And there is a chance it never improves to where it needs to be.
Brown’s second flaw, and one that effects his ceiling as a player more than his floor, is his just average athleticism. He was middling to below-average at every single agility and athletic drill at the NBA combine, proving his lack of speed or explosive leaping ability. It will be hard for him to take equivalently sized or smaller players off the dribble in the NBA: he will need to really strengthen his handles to be a more effective attacker off the bounce at the next level. He’s tall and strong enough that his lack of a jump shouldn’t affect his finishing too much, which is a plus. Overall, it’s just hard to imagine someone with Brown’s overall athletic abilities becoming a true star player in the NBA, even with all his smarts and skills.
Fit on Clippers:
Troy Brown is an excellent fit on the Clippers. As a small forward/power forward, he fits snugly into the positions that the Clippers were thinnest at last season. With Danilo Gallinari a constant injury risk, Sam Dekker taking a step back in his 3rd NBA season, and Wesley Johnson a fringe rotation player, Brown would have plenty of opportunities to get minutes and develop in his rookie season.
In terms of skillset, Brown slides in well with the Clippers’ current roster and Doc Rivers’ scheme. He’s a versatile offensive player that could facilitate passing and ball movement in a sometimes-stagnant Clippers’ second unit and would be an interesting pairing with Lou Williams. As a tall, long defensive player, he could cover a bit for his teammates, who tend to be on the smaller side. It’s very easy to imagine him with the starting lineup as well, playing in a free-flowing offense alongside Patrick Beverley, Lou, and Tobias Harris; they have the shooting to make up for his shaky outside game. Really, in terms of position and skillset, there aren’t many better matches for the Clippers outside the top handful of draft prospects.
Troy Brown is a player with a relatively high floor and a questionable ceiling. His best possible outcome would be if his shot moves from “bad” to “really good” by the time he hits his prime. If that happens, it will unlock his attacking and passing abilities to a greater extent, and he could become a secondary playmaker and tertiary offensive threat for a really good team. Similarly, if he can just work to become a little more laterally quick, Brown could be a player capable of defending at least three positions, and possibly cover outliers (slower point guards, smaller centers) at all five. That kind of all-around threat on both ends resembles something akin to a less athletic Andre Iguodala, or a better playmaking Trevor Ariza. That level of upside for Brown is certainly towards the upper end of the spectrum, but it’s a very reasonable product of his current talents.
The downside to Brown is obvious. If his athleticism doesn’t improve much, and if his shooting fails to develop, he will be a lesser Evan Turner, which is still an NBA player, but certainly not someone who will be in high demand. Troy does too many things well on the basketball court to be a true “bust”, yet he has real limitations that he will need to work hard to overcome. A median outcome would be a highly serviceable if unremarkable NBA player, a 5th starter on a good NBA team. And while that’s an unexciting draw for a late lottery pick, it’s not that out of line with the average player selected in that range.
If the Clippers trade down in the draft, Troy is a fantastic candidate to be selected if still available in the late teens. At 12 or 13 he’s certainly an option, as he does check off several boxes the Clippers need. I would be rather surprised if he’s selected that early, as teams are generally tantalized by prospects with greater athleticism in that area of the draft, but I wouldn’t be upset if the Clippers snagged him with one of their picks.