: For the third part of our West Coast Swing, we were fortunate enough to catch Bobby Brown in an exclusive workout in LA. Brown was nice enough to grant us a 45 minute workout despite the fact that he had worked out earlier that day for the Los Angeles Clippers. In it, he put on one of the more impressive offensive displays we’ve seen in a workout in the three years we’ve been doing this.
Brown is your classic case of an NBA draft sleeper. He played for one of the top prep programs in the country at Westchester High School in Los Angeles, but struggled to get minutes playing alongside future Division I standouts such as Hassan Adams, Trevor Ariza, Brandon Bowman, Ashanti Cook, Brandon Heath and others. Not being fully developed physically before he hit a late growth spurt and not getting much playing time until his senior year, he flew completely under the radar of most Division I schools. Despite being only 5-9 and 150 pounds at the time, Cal State Fullerton decided to take a chance on him, and things worked out extremely well for him. Brown was named Big West freshman of the year after averaging 13 points and 3.5 assists per game, and really began to make a name for himself a sophomore by scoring just under 17 points and 5 assists per game. After being recruited by programs such as Portland, Northern Arizona and Fullerton in high school, a number of NCAA championship caliber division one schools came calling after his sophomore season to try to get him to transfer, but Brown had his heart set on the NBA after dominating the Pro-Am league. It was there that he went up against the likes of Earl Watson, Baron Davis, Jordan Farmar, Gabe Pruitt, and established himself as one of, if not the top college point guard on the West Coast.
Brown’s junior year was a bit inconsistent. He struggled with injuries at times and was rotated on and off the ball by his coaching staff that was desperately looking for a way to help the team win more games. Being a late bloomer, he was still maturing mentally as a basketball player as well as physically, and did not always deal well with the poor play of his less talented teammates. Brown still impressed enough to have NBA scouts and executives courtside in every one of his games, and scored 20 points or more in 11 of his 29 games, and 9 with at least 7 assists. Brown declared for the draft in May and is keeping his college eligibility open until his draft stock becomes a bit more clear. He has been working out one on one with Baron Davis occasionally to help improve his defense, and has added 7 pounds to his skinny frame to get him up to 172 pounds. He’ll be playing in the Orlando pre-draft camp this upcoming week, and based on what we saw in LA, should be considered one of the early favorites for Orlando pre-draft camp MVP.
Due to the fact that Brown had worked out for the Los Angeles Clippers earlier that day, he went in for a shortened 45 minute workout in order to keep his legs fresh. He showed off his smooth ball-handling skills with a series of full-court drills, and then went straight into shooting drills from mid-range and the NBA 3-point line. From mid-range (the elbows of the post) he shot 19/20 from the left side, 20/20 from the right, and then 19/20 from each baseline. He then worked his way around the NBA 3-point line from one baseline to another, five stations in all, with the third being the straightaway. From the left corner he shot 5/5, then 5/7, 5/6, 5/7 and 5/6 from the right corner, for a total of 25/31, or 81%. His release is superbly quick and he gets good elevation on his jump-shot from mid-range, but not so much from NBA-range, like most college players we’ve seen.
A local 6-2 Division I guard joined him for the one on one session, where Brown’s true colors as a scorer really came out. He absolutely dominated the workout from that point, scoring on him on 14 or 15 straight possessions in every single way imaginable, from behind the 3-point line, mid-range, and by slashing to the hoop. Brown has outstanding quickness and overall explosiveness, and could absolutely not be stayed in front of. His footwork is superb, which allows him to create his own shot at will, and he is absolutely a wizard at creating separation from his defender when elevating from mid-range.
Brown showed off a wide-array of crafty moves from the triple threat position; jab-steps, shot-fakes, freeze fakes, and more. Brown would explode past his defender and then step back sharply off a crossover and elevate high off the ground for a picture perfect jump-shot, very rarely getting anything but pure nylon. His handle is extremely tight and this allows him to use a variety of hesitation moves while constantly changing gears and keeping his man on his heels. Brown is extremely crafty with his finish as well, being able to go up and dunk it strong if he pleases, but also showing a nice pivot move in the post to get his man off-balance and then go back up in the opposite direction and finish fundamentally with the jump-hook.
Scoring is something that comes very naturally to him, as his instincts on the offensive end are absolutely superb. In the rare case that he would miss and the possession would change hands, Brown would just jump right in his man’s grill, move his feet quickly and even react for the block on the perimeter on one occasion. As the workout came to a close, Brown showed off his hops by skying for a dunk, and then apologetically said that he thinks he’d had enough for the day.
In terms of weaknesses, obviously there wasn’t going to be much to take away from this type of setting. What he’ll need to do in Orlando is show off his point guard skills, which is something that was hard to properly evaluate playing for a team (and in a conference) where he is miles ahead of anyone else in terms of pure talent. His defense looked very good in this workout, but the level of competition left something to be desired.
Brown is in great shape to make a big splash in Orlando, as the ball will be in his hands for plenty of possessions and he’ll have his opportunity to show off all the skills scouts want to see. There is no doubt that this type of setting is tailor made to his game. He doesn’t have to go in there and become Steve Nash all of a sudden, since he’s a lead-guard first and foremost and that will always be his biggest strength, but he will need to show that he can effectively run a team and find the open man.
We spoke about this issue precisely following the workout, and Brown indicted that “leadership, toughness, and defense” are the things he most wants to show executives in Orlando. He says that he is a “point guard that scores, but likes to pass, and will be able to show that with more athletic guys around him.” His overall goal in the month of June is to “get into the 1st round,” but he did make it clear that that alone won’t be the deciding factor in whether or not he stays in the draft. He’s only done a couple of workouts at this point due to the fact that he only finished school on the 26th and NCAA rules do not permit underclassmen who are testing the waters to work out for NBA teams until their semester is over.
DraftExpress is already in Orlando and will be following Bobby Brown and all the other prospects closely in both the drills and the actual games, so stay tuned this week for some of the most detailed coverage ever of the NBA pre-draft camp.