Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 Draft Scouting - 2nd Round - Johnny O'Bryant

*Follow Six Championship Drive on Twitter, @Kevin6CD
**Mitch McGary

The Pistons have had the luxury this season of being able to essentially use their starting frontcourt members as their backup big men.  For example, Josh Smith is the main backup PF to Greg Monroe, and Greg Monroe will move to C for most of the minutes that Andre Drummond is on the bench.  While Jonas Jerebko will see minutes at PF, he's not a high usage or a high minute player.  Seeing as the Pistons big three frontcourt hasn't lead to success, there's a pretty good chance that one of Josh Smith or Greg Monroe will be gone this offseason.  That will not only leave a hole at SF, but it will also leave the Pistons looking for a backup post player.  They may think that Jonas Jerebko can absorb the PF minutes, but that will still leave them looking for another C.

A second round draft choice as high as the Pistons' pick allows Detroit the opportunity to grab a talented player who just barely missed the first round.  LSU F/C Johnny O'Bryant is a guy who is bursting with talent but is missing the consistency, accolades and production to be a sure-fire first round pick.  Draft guru Jonathan Givony, of has O'Bryant going 49th overall in this year's draft, as the 19th pick in the 2nd round.  Personally, I'm a little bit higher on O'Bryant because I like his combination of length, strength and scoring ability.  Let's take a closer look at how O'Bryant's game works and what his upside might be at the NBA level.

Click "Read More" to get a breakdown of O'Bryant's game...

JOHNNY O'BRYANT - F/C - LSU - 6'9, 260
There's a somewhat shocking lack of college highlights available for O'Bryant, but the short game highlights above provide a fairly accurate, if brief, view of his game.  O'Bryant uses almost the whole court inside the arc from what I can tell in the limited highlight videos available.  He even managed 27 3PAs (6/27) over his three seasons in Baton Rouge, so it doesn't appear that he doubts his jump shot.  If he gets position on the block, O'Bryant has a reputation of settling for fadeaway jumpers and often required the attention of coaches before he would start using his size advantage to score in a physical manner.  According to the linked article, O'Bryant shoots 66.7% on looks at the rim as opposed to 43% on two-point jump shots.  Despite O'Bryant's success at the rim, he had taken 22 more jumpers than close looks at the time of publication (early January).  His shot selection seems to be one of his two most glaring weaknesses.

His other glaring weakness is a confusing lack of rebounding.  O'Bryant's Total Rebound Percentage has dropped in every season at LSU, starting at a respectable 17.4% as a freshman, then 16.3% as a sophomore and finally 13.7% as a junior.  O'Bryant's wide frame, strength and 7'2" wingspan should make him at least a respectable rebounder.  For perspective, Creighton SF/PF Doug McDermott posted a 14.8 TRB% as a junior last season.  Nobody really thinks he'll be a talented rebounder at the NBA level.  That all being said, O'Bryant at the very least has the tools to not be a negative on the glass in the NBA.  For him, it's very much like how how he plays offense; it's just a matter of if he wants to do it.

Aside from his physical gifts, the biggest asset in O'Bryant's game is his ability to get to the free throw line.  O'Bryant managed a .455 Free Throw Rate this season, averaging 7.3 FTA/40.  As far as statistics go, this seems like one that he could bring with him to the NBA level if he chooses to attack the basket.  His big frame provides a large target, and his long arms cause shot blockers to foul on attempts they normally block.  Once he's there, O'Bryant is only a 61.9% shooter from the line.

Assuming O'Bryant enters the draft this year, I think there's a very realistic shot at him being there when Detroit picks in the 2nd round.  His size, length and offensive versatility should give him the opportunity to play both PF and C, although he projects better at C where his quickness won't be a concern.  I think this makes him a good fit for the Pistons, where he can play C with Smith at PF, or PF with Monroe or Drummond at C for well-managed stretches.  O'Bryant's talent and size are going to get him a chance to carve out a role somewhere.  In the right situation, he may even develop into a starter.

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