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Marshon Brooks ESPN Draft Potential

 I thought most of you would enjoy reading this.  This is a ESPN Insider article by David Thorpe discussing the draft credentials of Marshon Brooks.  Enjoy....


Is Marshon Brooks the next Kobe Bryant

June, 2, 2011 By David Thorpe Marshon BrooksMitchell Layton/Getty ImagesMarshon Brooks scores a ton, but his shot selection could use some improvement.

Sometimes a player in the draft just has that look. Not just a passing-the-eye-test look, but something bigger. Maybe he just has the perfect combination of size, length, speed, savvy and raw production, like Paul George did last year, despite playing on a less-than-great college team. Other times he has similar movements to an NBA great, teasing team decision-makers with the thought that perhaps he can evolve into his NBA look-alike.

No player in this draft is drawing more late-in-coming raves than Marshon Brooks from Providence, in part because he's physically similar to George. But to get this much buzz it takes more than a Paul George comparison, and Brooks can thank none other than Kobe Bryant for his rapid mock-draft ascension.

 

Does he really resemble Kobe, the iconic scoring guard? Yes, but not in most of the ways that matter most, and that is the problem.

Multiple men with trained eyes, including Bryant's current trainer, Tim Grover, and Chad Ford have seen "a little bit" of Kobe when they watch Brooks play. I also saw things that connected the two of them: big hands that palm the ball like it's a sponge and long arms that make it tough for a defender to get at the ball when Brooks is in motion or as he nears the rim for a layup. And some of his general movements as a player look strikingly similar to things we've seen from Kobe hundreds of times.

To be fair, Brooks has more in common with Kobe than just similar long limbs and movements. He's a scorer, pure and simple, and he's always in attack mode. Brooks had the ball in his hands more than almost any college player this season but averaged just 2.5 assists. I'm not convinced Brooks sees the game well, unlike Kobe, who chooses to shoot often but knows where to pass at all times.

Brooks does share something with Kobe as an offensive player that is not so good -- he takes bad shots. No player I've studied this season had worse shot selection than Brooks, who took 197 3-pointers, just 22 fewer than the number of free throws he earned. As a comparison, Kobe shot at least twice as many free throws as 3-pointers each season from his second NBA season to his eighth. For his college career, Brooks attempted 475 3s (and made 33 percent) and 402 free throws. Kobe, even after many seasons in which his somewhat worn-out legs forced him to take a lot more 3s, has still never even come close to taking as many 3s as he has free throws made in any season. For his career, he's made over 7,000 free throws and attempted 4,185 3s.

So what does Kobe have that Brooks doesn't that helps us understand why there is such a disparity? It's all about quickness with the ball. Kobe has it in tight spaces with great speed after two steps, and Brooks only has the speed part of the game down. Give him room, and he can get to a pace that some defenders cannot reach, and that allows him to get into the paint. But when crowded, he does not have the quicks to beat a decent defender to the rim. His amazing arm length suggests he'll be able to find ways to get the ball past a defender on drives and up toward the hole, which puts him in the company of someone such as Tyreke Evans, a crafty dribbler who uses his dimensions to make paint shots. But Brooks does not have the build to do so, at least not yet. If he can get much more powerful, his ability to score in the NBA goes way up. There are few men playing basketball today that have the kind of dribbling skill combined with a power forward's strength as Evans has.

Brooks has a strong handle and takes long steps when he drives, which allows him to get past slower defenders as he races to the rim. However, like Evans, he's not any kind of elite-level high jumper, another very obvious difference from Kobe.

 

Brooks can be a very good defender, wrapping up wings thanks to those arms, but we didn't see that in college. As an example, Evans had 77 steals as a freshman at Memphis. Brooks had just 48 as a senior in roughly the same number of minutes.

 

Yes, it is amazing to see Brooks play and literally see Kobe here and there. But as it relates to where he gets his points, quickness with the ball, star-level athleticism or playmaking on defense from, there simply is no comparison. Brooks is a hot name now and can certainly get drafted in Round 1, but in a stronger draft he'd be stuck as a second-round prospect who would not be assured of having an NBA career.

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