To the surprise of no one, Miami guard Bruce Brown declared for the NBA Draft on Thursday. Brown is only a sophomore, and missed big chunks of the season. However, he will turn 22 before the start of the next basketball season, and this is a draft pool with a dearth of wing prospects. This was an easy choice for Brown, who did not hire an agent, but projects as a first round pick — the land of the guaranteed money.
Sophomore Bruce Brown Jr. has declared for the NBA Draft, but will not hire an agent to maintain his college eligibility. pic.twitter.com/THzs51Orxp
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) March 22, 2018
Outside of the injuries this season, Bruce Brown also struggled with his shooting stroke; on catch-and-shoot possessions, Brown went just 7-of-29 (36.2 eFG%), per Synergy Sports. That’s a big drop from his rookie campaign: 63.9 eFG% on catch-and-shoots, good for 12th in the ACC.
Brown shot under 38 percent on two-point attempts away from the rim, too.
Despite those woes, Brown remained a serious impact player in Miami’s ball-screen offense. According to Synergy, Miami scored a silly 1.26 points per possession when he was a passer out of the pick-and-roll. That’s incredible production.
After 127 games across four seasons, Ja’Quan Newton has used up all of his eligibility. Freshman Lonnie Walker is yet to announce his NBA decision, but as a projected top-20 (late lottery) pick, he’s almost certainly headed out of town, too.
This means a lot of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of 5-foot-7 point guard Chris Lykes, especially with no additional players currently committed to the 2018 class.
A lot to Lyke
Over the final 18 games of this season, Lykes made 10 starts, played nearly 26 minutes per game and scored 11.8 points. When he played, Lykes certainly wasn’t shy with the basketball; in fact, he ranked first on the team in usage rate — 25.4 percent.
Lykes had some issues against top-50 competition — in part because of some turnover problems (20.3 percent). When he has it going, though, Lykes can be as electric as any player in the ACC.
According to Synergy, Lykes shot 38.2 percent (46.3 eFG%) out of the pick-and-roll this season — scoring 0.83 points per possession, No. 7 in the ACC (minimum 100 possessions).
As a passer out of this action: The Hurricanes scored 1.04 points per possession after a pass from Lykes. If Dewan Huell returns for his junior season, those two could form a powerful pick-and-roll battery.