Despite rumors that the Washington Wizards may trade the 15th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, the team used it to select University of Oregon swingman Troy Brown Jr.
Brown, who doesn’t turn 19 until next month, didn’t attend the draft in New York City and stayed home with family in his native Las Vegas. However, he worked out for Washington on June 11 at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C., obviously making an impression.
“It’s a lifelong dream to make to the NBA,” Brown said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. “To finally hear my name … I was very excited. I have a lot of progress I need to make. I’m definitely looking forward to getting in the gym and getting with the coaching staff and learning under [the Wizards] program.”
The 6-foot-7-inch, 215-pound Brown averaged 11 points and six rebounds a game in his lone year at Oregon.
His achievements during his collegiate career include:
• PAC-12 All-Freshman Team honorable mention.
• Ranked fifth in school year with 55 steals in one season.
• Recorded a career-high 21 points in a victory Feb. 8 against University of Washington.
Brown will play alongside Otto Porter Jr., Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. All three play on the perimeter, are 25 and younger and were drafted in the first round.
Head coach Scott Brooks praised Brown’s versatility and length, particularly as the game has shied away from the traditional five positions.
“I like the fact he can guard ones, twos and threes — maybe some fours, depending on who he’s playing against,” Brooks said. “I think he can be a really, good secondary pick-and-roll player. You can play him with Brad. You can play him with John [Wall]. You can play with him all kinds of players.”
Brooks stressed Brown’s off-the-court education will be a priority such as learning how to eat healthy, proper amount of sleep and how to be an overall professional.
“Our job is to make him understand that is important,” he said. “We have a lot time we are going to spend with him.”
Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld said team officials were also impressed by his character and basketball knowledge.
For instance, Brown was asked to draw a last-second play on a clipboard “and he drew up several of them.”
“Obviously like any young player, he has a lot of work to do,” Grunfeld told reporters Thursday at Capital One Arena. “But he has a lot of the intangibles that I think you need in today’s game.”
Brown said he plans to bring a versatility to the team and learn to be a professional.
“I am definitely all ears to making the team better and just trying to do what I can to get on the floor,” he said. “Off the court, [the] need to make business decisions in the right manner, especially in ways that doesn’t affect the team. I have to hold myself to a higher standard off the court and take care of myself.”
Washington also drafted Issuf Sanon, a 6-4 guard out of Slovenia, in the second round with the 44th pick.