The Texas Longhorns’ latest one-and-done has found a home in the NBA, as the Portland Trail Blazers have selected forward Greg Brown III with the No. 43 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Brown becomes the fourth one-and-done from the Shaka Smart era to be drafted, joining Jarrett Allen (2017), Mohamed Bamba (2018) and Jaxson Hayes (2019).
During his lone season with the Longhorns, Brown averaged 9.3 points and 6.2 boards in just 20.6 minutes per game. Along the way, he displayed flashes of both his potential and the project he’ll likely become as he aims to find a role at the highest level.
Brown stepped foot on the Forty Acres as a five-star prospect with tremendous upside, and that upside often revealed itself in the form of Brown’s elite athleticism — particularly, as an explosive leaper when slashing and attacking the rim. That and his activity around the rim, in general, and willingness to pull from the perimeter and show potential there, as well, helped him average near double figures in the scoring column an earn a place on the Big 12 All-Freshman team. Not to mention, he proved to be a capable and willing defender, both inside and out.
However, he left Texas still pretty raw after thriving so often on athleticism. The fact that Brown still enjoyed the success he did on a Texas team that ultimately won the Big 12 Tournament title is a testament to how his sheer athleticism can impact the game and serves as a solid foundation for his future. But, there’s the list of skills he’ll likely need to develop to cement a role in the NBA long term, like the ability to create for himself and others — especially when driving right — and drastically improve upon his 20.9 turnover percentage and foul rate.
In Brown, the Blazers are getting a young prospect comparable to Jerami Grant, who entered the league as a hyper-athletic talent who developed from a raw role player who ultimately developed into an impactful starter who’s fresh off of a career-best year during which Grant averaged 22 points per game.
It was only a year ago that Brown was a top 10 national prospect with unlimited upside. That hasn’t changed. Now, Portland will look to tap into that potential.