Drafted by: Minnesota Timberwolves, No. 44 overall
Traded to: Brooklyn Nets for cash
School: Oklahoma State
Height/Weight: 6'3", 184 lbs
Age: 22 years old
Projected NBA Position: Shooting Guard
Pro Comparison: Allan Ray Meets Shannon Brown
Twitter Handle: @iMarkelBrown22
Explosiveness was the name of the game for Markel Brown during his four years at Oklahoma State, and it's what drove his NBA draft stock during the past couple of campaigns.
With his open-court athleticism and an improved jump shot, he's got a chance to find his niche as an energetic 2-guard who pressurizes opponents on both ends of the floor.
Although he stood in Marcus Smart's shadow for the last two seasons, he put together highly productive years and expanded his game. He spent much of his first year on the first-round bubble for most draft analysts.
His skills and command of the game aren't advanced enough to reach stardom, but he's poised to turn some heads if opponents let him get loose.
|Statistics at Oklahoma State|
If you didn't get a chance to watch him play at Stillwater, you missed out on one of the best acrobatic shows in college hoops.
Brown's foremost physical gift is his tremendous athleticism and aerial agility. He can effortlessly hop for alley-oops, rebounds, put-backs and contests. At the NBA Draft Combine, he leapt for a mind-boggling 43.5" max vertical.
He's not as quick laterally as he is vertically, but he has enough juice to run with NBA backcourts. At 184 pounds, he might be a big light for a shooting guard.
Brown is also a bit short for a 2 at 6'3.5" with shoes on, but he helps make up for it with a 6'8.75" wingspan. That reach will fuel his defensive opportunities.
Brown simply dominates during transition scenarios, whether it's a broken play, fast break or secondary break.
His aforementioned leaping ability is trampoline-like, and once he scales the heights, he finishes strong with a dunk or physical take off the glass. In college, he made a lot of tough plays look easy. Chase-down blocks and fast break buckets were an easy trick for him.
Even in half-court situations, he can get loose and make things happen. If he gets a slashing lane from the wing or a backdoor alley-oop, it's either two points or a foul.
That alone won't keep him on the floor in the NBA, but he also became a decent passer when he slashed or initiated from the wing. He averaged 3.3 assists per 40 minutes as a senior.
Although he entered his career at Oklahoma State with a shaky three-point shot, he gradually honed it and turned it into one of his strengths.
By his senior season, more than a third of his shots were triples, and he was able to create 27 percent of his three-point makes (per Hoop-math.com). From 2010-11 to 2013-14, he went from 26 percent beyond the arc to 38 percent.
He does a good job of sliding into place and squaring up for his shots, and he'll work nicely away from the ball to find his scoring chances in the NBA. When he does have the ball, he'll be able to knock down pull-up triples or step-back jumpers.
Browns ability to elevate and shoot over opponents shouldn't be underestimated, as he can attempt many shots that others wouldn't be able to try.
Brown wasn't a defensive star in college, and he probably won't be one in the NBA. However, on-ball defense should be one of his better assets moving forward. With his wingspan, athleticism and aggressiveness, he could be a nice stopper.
NBADraft.net's Jorrye Nixon explained that Brown's gifts should give him some versatility on that end. He scouted Brown at Oklahoma State and said he showed "pretty good on-ball defense, and blocked shots exceptionally well for an undersized shooting guard. (Brown) has the physical and athletic tools to defend point guards and small 2s."
You don't have to be incredibly tall to make an impact on defense as long as you have long arms, agility and the desire to work hard. Brown checks all three of those boxes.
Although he's a decent slasher and a good passer, Brown's ball-handling ability still isn't quite sharp enough for him to consistently create. Until he can break down opponents both north-to-south and east-to-west, he'll be an underwhelming threat off the dribble. That's what will determine the size of his role and his overall production.
In addition, he could improve his defense away from the ball, as sometimes he's caught out of position or simply way behind the play.
The other concerns aren't major weaknesses, but rather areas he must re-tool. In addition to the aforementioned ball-handling skills, he must work on his shot-selection and mid-range shooting.
Even though he played four years of college ball, Brown isn't the type of player who's ready to come in and shoulder a substantial role in the NBA.
He is, however, suited to come off the bench for sporadic bursts of energy. He'll play an explosive brand of hoops on both ends, hitting the occasional timely three-pointer.
Brown's long-term outlook isn't a sure thing, because we're not certain how much he'll improve from this point.
If he can become a more fluid and crisp ball-handler and perhaps grow into a combo-guard role, then his possibilities greatly expand. The same goes for his jump-shooting abilities. Progressing from good to great would yield more minutes and make him more than a fast break weapon.
If you're looking for a best-case scenario for Brown's career, it would be a lot like Shannon Brown, especially when he was a key role player on a championship-caliber Los Angeles Lakers team. Markel could serve as a similarly jet-fueled slasher in half-court and transition sequences.