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March Madness Prospect Watch Day 5: Dillon Brooks

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Day 5 of Prospect Watch continues with a look at the leader of the Oregon Ducks, forward Dillon Brooks

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Rhode Island vs Oregon Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Brooks - Oregon

Projected draft spot: 36th (Draft Express), N/R in top 30 (CBS Sports), N/R in top 30 (ESPN)

Stats: 24.4 minutes, 16.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 50.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT%, 74.2 FT%

Strengths: Scoring instincts, Basketball IQ, Playmaking 4 potential

Weaknesses: Athleticism laterally, Frame, Defense, Rebounding

Game Time: Thursday v.s. Michigan @ 5:09 PM MST

What to watch for: Dillon Brooks is a very interesting second round prospect who plays one side of the floor very well with the smoothness of a 10 year veteran. Playing both small forward and power forward at Oregon, the Ducks, committed to Brooks playing power forward when big man Chris Boucher went down with a torn ACL. Since then, Brooks, Tyler Dorsey, and Jordan Bell have all stepped up.

In his last 14 contests, Brooks is averaging 20.2 points on 52.2% from the field and an absurd 55.5% from behind the three point line. His efficiency improved on incredibly high volume, earning himself the Pac 12 Player of the Year award. Brooks also displays solid passing skills and a high Basketball IQ offensively. He generally limits turnovers, and he will pick up assists in the flow of the offense due to making the right decision the majority of the time.

So why is he so low? Well, his athletic ability, frame, and physicality are all lacking. This is most evident on the defensive end and in rebounding on either end, which would make Brooks a liability to play on certain nights depending on the matchup. Think Doug McDermott mixed with Denzel Valentine offensively (hello Chicago), only less certain that those offensive skills will translate to the NBA.

In his matchup against Michigan, he will be going up against an athletic and lengthy power forward in D.J. Wilson, who at 6’9, still has the mobility to stay in front of Brooks. Will Brooks be able to make moves to gain separation from an NBA caliber athlete in a high pressure situation? Will he give it all back on the defensive end? If he does, Brooks could find himself in the mid-late first round, a prospect that Denver could see as a future replacement for Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler.

I think there’s too much talent where Denver is drafting to settle on a gamble on Dillon Brooks, but in the event that the Nuggets acquire another draft pick, the combo forward could be on Denver’s radar. Brooks has made big time shots and big time plays during his time at Oregon, and if he can find the right role in the NBA, it’s easy to see him succeeding at the next level. He has questions to answer, but the biggest question that matters is his ability to put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the floor.