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Cleveland Cavaliers Prospect Profile: Anthony Brown

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There are good wings available in this draft, but what if they're all gone at 24? Anthony Brown could be a potential failsafe.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of people like one of the three wings for the Cleveland Cavaliers at the 24th pick: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, R.J. Hunter, or Justin Anderson. And it's easy to see why; RHJ is a good defender, Hunter is a good shooter, and Anderson projects to be able to do both well at the next level. However, all three have been projected to go before the Cavs pick. In the current Draft Express mock, Hunter goes 17th, and Hollis-Jefferson would go 22nd, and Anderson's been projected as high as 20th in some mocks.

So what happens if all three are gone, and the Cavs are pretty set on wanting a wing? They could always go for UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn, but he's not the only option. Let's look at another role-playing wing the Cavs could pursue: Stanford's Anthony Brown.

Who is Anthony Brown?

Brown is a fifth-year senior from Stanford who was the Cardinal's second-leading scorer this season at 14.8 points per game. He redshirted his junior season in 2012 to have surgery to fix a congenital issue in his hip, and in the two seasons since, has grown into a solid college three-point shooter, hitting 45.3 percent from deep in 2013-2014 and 44.1 percent this past season. There's talk that he could be a three-and-D specialist in the NBA, thanks to a long wingspan and his ability to spot up off the ball. Brown ranks 27th at Draft Express, 37th at CBS Sports, and 42nd at Bleacher Report.

Physical Tools

Brown helped himself a lot at the draft combine by participating in all of the athletic drills. The 6'7" wing was able to showcase his great lateral quickness (sub-11 second lane agility) and he had a max vertical leap of 34.5", which isn't great, but is acceptable. Brown isn't a flashy athlete, but he's mobile and can cover a lot of space with his 6'11" wingspan, so he projects as a potentially solid NBA defender. The big knock here is that Brown isn't very strong, and that may limit his ability to defend bigger opponents. He has the length to defend small forwards, certainly, but struggled to do so at the college level, because bigger guys like Stanley Johnson and Oregon's Elgin Cook could take him in the post or shoot over him if they beat him off the dribble.

It's also worth noting that Brown's injury isn't really a concern, long-term. He's had both hips fixed, but with congenital defects like that, once they're corrected, basketball guys usually don't have issues with them. That was two years ago, and he's shown absolutely no ill effects from the surgery since, playing 73 games in the last two years.

Offense

Brown's shooting is what is going to get him drafted. He definitely has NBA range, and he had one of the better shooting drill performances at the combine. And this isn't Derrick Williams or Victor Oladipo shooting really well on few attempts - Brown took nearly 300 threes over the past two years, and hit 45 percent, many from NBA range. He's good. He's an excellent spot-up shooter and does a good job coming off screens and in transition off the catch. His pull-up shooting is inconsistent, which keeps him from probably being more than a spot-up guy from outside. He's also a pretty good passer in the halfcourt and in transition, and can definitely fit in a free-flowing offense.

However, beyond that, Brown's not going to do much offensively. He shot 42.4 percent on two-pointers last year, and has significant issues finishing at the rim. He can get there, because he's good at using his quickness to beat defenders off the dribble, but he can't finish over the trees when help arrives, and doesn't really have a good floater or touch from 5-8 feet to compensate. His handle is a little sketchy, and he can be turnover-prone if forced to create off the dribble. Luckily at Stanford, he had Chasson Randle to handle the rock, and in the NBA teams won't want him on the ball hardly ever. However, it'd be nice to see him improve at the rim, because it would help him become a little more well-rounded as a prospect.

Defense

Brown projects to be a decent NBA defender, but that's mostly because of his physical profile, as we've discussed already. When it came to actual on-court play at Stanford, Brown left a lot to be desired. He's quick enough to stay in front of guys on isolations, and does a pretty good job in the pick-and-roll, even if bigs can catch him on screens. But he struggles with size, and even though he has the length to pay small forward in the NBA, he's probably only going to be able to defend shooting guards because small forwards will be able to power past him and kill him on the block. Brown's defensive positioning is also somewhat erratic, and he's played a ton of zone in college, which means he has your prototypical zone-wing ball-watching tendencies and can lose guys off the ball. Brown also isn't much of a help defender, and had really low steal and block rates throughout college, even though he should be pretty good at getting in passing lanes and contesting shots. Brown could develop into a decent defender, but it's unlikely he ever develops beyond that.

Intangibles

Brown shouldn't struggle too much with assuming a bit role on a team. He's played as a number two option for most of his college career, and he knows what he's good at, so he shouldn't have to adjust much. However, there are definitely concerns with where his ceiling is. As with any guy who's entering the league at almost 23 years old, you have to wonder if Brown will have a ceiling much higher than what we've already seen, especially strength-wise, because there's not much filling out for him to do. If he can't add strength, then does he just become a bit guy who can shoot and not do much else? Will he be able to improve his technique defensively? Those are the big questions for Brown heading forward, because that's the difference between being a Danny Green and being a Jason Kapono.

Player Comparison

If Brown can at least get a little stronger, then James Jones is a good comparison. Brown's that good of a three-point shooter, and he'll give effort in other aspects of the game, he just might not be great at them. And we have to remember that this past year of Jones was a bit of an anomaly; Miami Heat James Jones chucked spot-up threes religiously, was a functional defender, and kept the offense moving. So while he probably can't slide to the four and won't be asked to defend anyone better than a teams second-best wing, Brown could carve out a career in the NBA if his shooting is for real, which it seems to be.

How Does he Fit on the Cavaliers?

Basically, Brown would be a bench shooter, tasked with coming in and spotting up, likely from the corners in bench lineups. You wouldn't want to play him huge minutes, because he'll be a liability on defense immediately, but the Cavs would hope that they could get him to at least be positionally sound and become a better help defender, so he could be serviceable. He might benefit from some time in Canton for this reason, but if his shooting is for real, the Cavs could definitely throw him on the bench and use him sparingly when they needed shooting in a certain matchup. That's not as enticing as a guy like Hunter or Anderson, who should both be good rotation players in two years, but you could get Brown to be Mike Miller on this team, and he'll actually hit shots, so that's okay.