At the NBA draft Thursday night, Anthony Brown ’15 became the third Cardinal player drafted to the NBA in the last two years, joining Josh Huestis ’14 and Dwight Powell ’14. Brown, a southern California native, was drafted 34th by his childhood team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
His ability to shoot from deep and defend on the perimeter at an elite level got the attention of many scouts during Brown’s pre-draft workouts. The Lakers in particular loved his confidence and his lateral quickness on the defensive end.
This comes as no surprise to Cardinal fans. Brown was a nightly spectacle on the Farm, creating a name for himself on both ends of the floor.
In his last two years at Stanford, Brown established himself as a great outside shooter. In his third season, he shot 45 percent on three’s with 3.3 attempts per game, and 39 percent of his shot attempts were from three-point land. In his final season, Brown increased his volume while maintaining his efficiency. He sank three’s at a .441 clip, attempting 4.8 per contest. 44 percent of his shot attempts came from beyond the arc during the season.
Furthermore, Brown took on the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best player night in and night out. In a competitive Pac-12 conference, he was the primary defender against talents like Stanley Johnson (Arizona) and Delon Wright (Utah) and also switched onto a hot Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona) at several times during the season. For context, these three players were drafted as the No. 8, 20, and 23 picks, respectively.
Anthony also led the team in rebounds his senior season, tallying 6.9 boards per game.
As a dependable two-way player, Brown should carve out a nice niche as a 3-and-D wing in the NBA. The Lakers don’t quite resemble a good NBA team right now, meaning Brown should be able to fight for minutes on a roster that doesn’t have much at small forward beyond the unproven Wesley Johnson. He’s got solid size at 6’7” to accompany an astonishing 6’11” wingspan. His physical attributes allow him to switch on pick-and-rolls and guard multiple perimeter positions, an increasingly valued skill in a guard-dominant league. Every team in the West boasts a top-tier point guard and the conference loves throwing picks against small forwards, which bodes well for the Stanford alum.
Brown projects well as a role player according to ESPN’s statistical plus/minus model, but he still has much to work on. He needs to get much stronger in order to defend bigger players at the three position, especially in the post. At Stanford, Brown wasn’t particularly explosive and struggled to create his own offense. If he can learn how to take a dribble inside the arc after a pump-fake, his improved offensive versatility should make him much more difficult to guard. This will likely pay dividends as he fights for playing time, especially if the Lakers don’t go after a small forward in free agency.
Look for Brown to put on for Stanford in the Las Vegas Summer League. He’ll team up with Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell on a young, promising Lakers squad that’s looking to redeem the future of the Purple and Gold.
Contact Irving Rodriguez at irodriguez ‘at’ stanford.edu.