Many years ago, Frank Layden drafted a UCLA backup center that hardly played in his collegiate career named Mark Eaton. When asked why he said: “You can’t teach height.” Eaton went on to be a successful NBA player, even winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Is Moses Brown another Mark Eaton? Admittedly, the comparison is not apt because Brown has been a much better basketball player in college than Eaton was. But, let’s just say with his inability to shoot outside the lane and his 35% free throw shooting percentage, he does not exactly look NBA ready.
Physically, Brown has more than height. He runs the floor well for a big guy. Dime Magazine’s Brian Schroder wrote:
I guess we’ll start off where every self-respecting draft nerd starts: wingspans! . . . A few of the other wingspan freaks this year were UCLA’s Moses Brown (7’4.75) and Utah State’s Neemias Queta (7’4.25), two players I couldn’t feel more differently about if I tried. Brown has tremendous size and length, but his lack of lower body strength and balance made him a not particularly good college player.
While he has the height, wingspan and ability to run the floor, questions remain on whether he is strong enough.
All this means that he is a project. ESPN ranks him 96 on their list, below both Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes. That said, a number of teams have tried him out. There is interest. Moses led UCLA in rebounds and the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds. He led UCLA in shot blocks as well and he shot 60% from the field.
His start was so tantalizing. In his first three games, he averaged a double-double and shot over 80%. But I would arguethat, by the end of the season, UCLA was better on the floor without him. He did not pass. He had just three assists during the entire Pac-12 season!
Furthermore, Brown’s skill set may be a throwback to another era. He is a big who likes to play close to the basket. But is he right for today’s NBA game? Take the NBA finals. Marc Gasol and Demarcus Cousins, the starting centers for both teams, can shoot threes and are comfortable outside. That is what is becoming required of centers more and more. Meanwhile, Brown can’t even make a free throw, let alone a three.
The reality is that Brown is not about now. This begs the question: Why didn’t he stay at UCLA? His game is raw and his going pro is about the future. He has the height and wingspan you can’t teach. He is fast and agile for his size. Is he worth a gamble for an NBA team?
Good luck, Moses. We hardly knew you.