J'Covan Brown not drafted -- should he have stayed?

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Despite leading the Big 12 in points per game, J'Covan Brown went undrafted.
Despite leading the Big 12 in points per game, J'Covan Brown went undrafted.

As the Beaumont Press reported Thursday night, former Texas guard J'Covan Brown -- who went undrafted in this year's NBA Draft -- will join the Miami Heat as a free agent.

 

Brown will play for the team in the NBA's summer league, beginning July 8.

 

Despite not being selected in the 60 picks, Brown, who left after his junior season, told the Beaumont Enterprise that he had no regrets about leaving early.

 

And he shouldn't. Brown has a daughter to care for and another child the way. He wasn't going to get any better in college -- unless he grew a few inches between May and October. And it was a down year for point guards; for the first time since 2006, there wasn't a true point taken with the first five picks.

 

Brown played mostly shooting guard in college, but because of his size he projects to a point guard -- or a combo -- in the NBA. Brown certainly could have come back to college to again put up monstrous numbers, but he would have still been playing at two-guard with Myck Kabongo in the fold, eliminating any chance to prove his worth at the point.

 

Looking closely, Brown and Austin Rivers, the Duke guard selected No. 10 by New Orleans, put up similar numbers and both have a gunslinger approach. Also, both were two-guards in college who will likely begin at point guard in the pros:

 

Rivers: 43 percent from FG (174-for-402), 36 from 3-point (58-for-159), 3.4 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists, 2.3 turnovers.

 

Brown: 42 percent from FG (223-for-535), 37 from 3-point 80-for-217), 3.4 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, 2.7 turnovers.

 

So what makes one undrafted and the other a lottery pick? Rivers is 6'4" with a NBA pedigree. Brown is 6'1" with a streaky history of hot-headeness.

 

Very little would have changed if Brown decided to stay for his senior season. The point-guard pool will be deeper, he'd be a year older -- of the last 240 first-round draft choices, spanning back to 2005, only 10 selections have been senior point guards. (And if you're going to make the "He could improve at shooting guard!" argument: there hasn't been a sub-6'1" shooting guard drafted in the first round the last 10 years). Plus, Texas's dependency on Brown to shoot was going to drive his efficiency numbers into the ground.

 

Brown's game never translated well to the professional level, where it's unlikely he'll be able to blow past his opponent as easily, inflate his numbers by dominating the rock or get to the rack with as much consistency. He'll get his shot with Miami, and that's good for him, but it's probably not the best fit; the Heat need a distributor, mostly, not somebody to sap shots from James, Wade and Bosh.

 

Remember J'Covan Brown for this: a scoring savant with a knack for playing best when it mattered most -- 21 points per game in four career NCAA tournament games -- and not as some fool who left college a year early and then went undrafted.

 

He really had nothing left to prove, and not much to gain.