2023 NBA Draft: Could Kobe Brown boost the Cavaliers on the wing?

Brown has the potential to be a jack-of-all-trades, master of some for the Cavaliers if given time to develop.
brown kobe missouri
COLUMBIA, MO – JANUARY 28: Kobe Brown #24 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after scoring during the first half of the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Mizzou Arena on January 28, 2023 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Right Down Euclid started breaking down possible options for the Cleveland Cavaliers leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft. Of course, Cleveland could always trade the pick to get a player that can make an immediate impact on top of signing a wing player like Troy Brown. Again, sources say Royce O’Neale could be an option. Still, Right Down Euclid has also been told that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince could be a player that garners interest this summer. Would the Cavaliers offering a combination of Cedi Osman and that second-rounder be enough to interest the Timberwolves? It’s a fair question depending on how the market shakes out. But for now, it at least appears veteran wing players could be available for Cleveland to bolster their rotation.

Assuming the Cavaliers make the pick at 49, the approach should still be zeroed in on a wing-type player that could make an impact down the line. Cleveland could swing for the fences and go after the tantalizing albeit hyper-polarizing Emoni Bates. They could also prioritize pure shooting with Washington State sharpshooter Justin Powell as a viable option. Or the Cavaliers could focus on a rugged, jack-of-all-trades master of some with a touch of three-point shooting upside like Missouri swingman Kobe Brown.

Although he’s an older prospect entering this draft cycle at 23 years old, the experience and versatility Brown brings to the table are impressive. During his four-year career with Mizzou, Brown played every position on the floor for the Tigers, firmly entrenched from day one as a starter. It helps that he played point guard in high school, which allowed Brown to unlock things for Missouri on offense with his playmaking and vision. While he isn’t a full-time lead guard, he can ensure an offense runs smoothly and act as a hub to generate success on that end of the floor.

That skillset from the forward position already has Brown in some scout’s eyes as a possible roleplayer for a team. But the intrigue is only heightened by Brown’s improved perimeter shooting during his senior season. While he shot below 30% in his first three seasons at Missouri, he knocked down over 45% of his three-point attempts in his final year. Granted, that wasn’t at an extremely high volume at 3.3 attempts per game. But much of that could be attributed to Missouri asking Brown to do everything and how their overall offense flowed. No Ceilings draft analyst Maxwell Baumbach once shared that Brown’s shooting bump is comparable to the final collegiate season of Justin Anderson, Richaun Holmes, Wes Iwundu, Semi Ojeleye, Rui Hachimura, Terance Mann, Davion Mitchell and Herb Jones. While that list is a bit of a mixed bag between shooting threats, non-shooters and guys no longer in the NBA, it at least can give some comfort knowing Brown isn’t an aberration.

Besides, in his final season, Brown’s shot mechanics looked smoother mechanically, and it grew to be part of his offensive arsenal. If the Cavaliers believed his mechanics needed just a bit more tweaking before it’s NBA-ready, having him join the Cleveland Charge, their NBA G League affiliate, to work with head coach Mike Gerrity is the right call. If Brown is on a two-way deal, he’ll also be at practice with the main club, allowing him to work with shooting coach Andrew Olson. For those who don’t know Olson helped guide Larry Nance Jr., Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton and countless others into adding a three-pointer to their game. While developing Brown won’t be as daunting as refining Isaac Okoro, Olson could be the ideal man to maximize Brown’s game.

brown mizzou nba draft
AMES, IA – JANUARY 29: Kobe Brown #24 of the Missouri Tigers drives the ball in the second half of play at Hilton Coliseum on January 29, 2022 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones won 67-50 over the Missouri Tigers. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)

Even if the three-pointer doesn’t become a reliable option, Brown can still rely on his passing and size (6’8”, 250 lbs) to bully smaller opponents to get cleaner looks at the rim. When Brown couples his imposing size with his high intelligence on offense, it also transfers cleanly to the defensive end of the floor. Within the defensive concepts his team runs, Brown processes that information to remain engaged and opportunistic when defending opponents off the ball. He can then crash the class using his size and physicality to kick off fastbreak scenarios, utilizing his savvy vision to generate points.

Mind you, Brown isn’t completely without fault on defense and it could become more apparent in the NBA. He lacks the quickness to be effective on both ends against guards and is too small to play in some frontcourt situations. Brown is sometimes a little awkward due to his status as a tweener on the floor. But, thankfully, he also understands what he is as a player and instead tries to act as a playmaker on defense while defending off-ball. The former Mizzou prospect isn’t an elite defender or athlete but can hold his own against various positions. He also plays with a ton of energy and physicality every game, which is something the Cavaliers could’ve used in the playoffs against the New York Knicks.

On paper, players like Brown would be considered first-round talent due to their abilities as a connector piece, something every NBA team desires. But, due to his draft age, which somewhat limits his upside, and data saying he won’t be an average shooter in the NBA, he’ll be stuck toward the end of the second round. It doesn’t help that Brown is good at many things but isn’t great at one specific thing either. It will be an uphill battle but based on his body of work, there’s a real opportunity there for Brown.

To make it in the NBA, Brown needs a team and system conducive to allowing him to grow and find his niche as a player. If that happens to be Cleveland, Brown could slot in nicely as the type of wing depth they desperately need. Like Paul Millsap, Brown can become an effective roleplayer who contributes to winning in many ways. That’s not to say the expectation should be Brown will be an All-Star during his NBA career. Instead, he can be the glue guy the Cavaliers need on the perimeter that helps them reach the next level.

Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at evan@downeuclid.com. He can also be found three to five times weekly on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.

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