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NBA Draft Player Profile 2022: Christian Braun

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-National Championship-Kansas vs North Carolina Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a national championship, the Kansas Jayhawks have two intriguing wings in this year’s draft. One being Ochai Agbaji, who we did a draft preview on last week, and the other being Christian Braun. The 6’7” wing was a key contributor to the Jayhawks’ national title run and success throughout the NCAA season. His 3 point shooting, defense, grit and hustle were all showcased throughout the season. He brought a winning mentality, grabbing offensive boards, being a pest defensively, and trash talking. He is a competitor through and through.

He shot a relatively low volume of threes, but when he let them fly he shot a good percentage. Being a junior means he has a good sample size to look at, and he’s a good shooter on his college career in general. He fits the mold of someone the Nuggets could use not just for his on the court talents, but off the court he also will get into teams’ heads and annoy them. That can provide good value within itself.


Christian Braun, Wing, Kansas


Vitals

Height (w/ shoes): 6 feet 7 inches

Wingspan: 6 feet 6 and a half inches

Weight: 209 pounds

Age: 21 years old (04/17/2001)


College Career Stats

Christian Braun College Career Stats

Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season School Conf G GS MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2019-20 Kansas Big 12 31 5 18.4 1.8 4.2 0.431 0.8 1.9 0.414 1 2.3 0.444 0.6 0.8 0.731 0.7 2.2 2.9 0.5 0.7 0.2 0.4 1.3 5.3
2020-21 Kansas Big 12 30 30 31.1 3.1 8.1 0.38 1.3 3 0.449 1.7 5.1 0.34 1.8 2.3 0.786 1.2 4 5.2 1.9 1.2 0.4 1.3 1.7 9.7
2021-22 Kansas Big 12 40 39 34.4 5.2 10.5 0.495 3.9 7.2 0.545 1.3 3.3 0.386 2.5 3.4 0.733 1.4 5.1 6.5 2.8 1 0.8 2 1.8 14.1

Strengths

Defense

Christian Braun is a fairly straight forward defender — he’s good. He has good footwork and discipline on the defensive end of the floor. At the point of attack, he is a disruptive and staunch defender. His speed and mobility allow him to keep up with guys on drives, or in isolation. His feel also makes him a smart and effective help defender. Having a negative wingspan, he needs to have a good discipline and feel for the game to be a good defender. He does just that.

Off the ball he’s good at jumping passing lanes and turning defense into offense. He checks pick and roll ball handlers well, holding them to just 24.6% from the field, per Synergy Sports. In isolation he is also good at keeping up with his man and gives them good contests. He keeps his chest square and absorbs contact well. In isolation opponents shot just 24.5% against Braun, per Synergy Sports.

He can struggle in the post against bigger post players, so likely isn’t a switch guy 1-4. At the next level though, I see him being a good defender of guards and small forwards. Someone reliable at the point of attack, or chasing someone around off the ball.

Examples

Off-Ball Scoring

Christian Braun shot 41.4% off catch and shoot jumpers in the half court. He has very good shooting mechanics and a great process to get his shots up. His off-ball relocation is another impressive aspect of his off-ball shooting. Coming into the league he will immediately make an impact off catch and shoot shots. He took a relatively low volume on only 3.3 3 point attempts per game and hesitated from 3 sometimes, but the process and percentages both indicate he will be an above average shooter.

His off-ball cutting is also good. He has good athleticism and is a legit lob threat when he cuts back door. Playing next to Jokic as an offensive hub, he could get easy buckets and make the offense click more. He is one of the best players in this class at attacking off of closeouts too. He is a good and functional passer, making him have connector potential.

Examples


Improvement Areas

Self-Creation

Christian Braun has some occasional flashes of self-creation, pull ups when the defense goes under off dribble hand offs, or sometimes driving to the rim. However, those are only flashes. In general he struggles to create for himself. His handle is neither shifty nor crafty enough to create a ton of space. There are some flashes, but not enough for me to buy in to him as a shot creator long term.

Examples


Verdict

The Nuggets could use someone with the attitude of Christian Braun. He’s a pain in the ass and the Nuggets don’t have many of those. His athleticism is underrated and he can be a high flyer. Add his off-ball cutting and relocation to the mix — that’s a Jokic ball player. Attacking off of closeouts also open up many doors for the Nuggets to explore, and he creates advantages off of those situations well.

Defensively he brings a lot to the table. He’s more well-rounded defensively than Wendell Moore Jr. because his off-ball defense is also good, but I think Wendell Moore has more defensive upside given his wingspan and being a year younger than Christian Braun. He’s someone to be interested in for sure, and if the Nuggets did end up picking him I think they walk away happy. However, I think there will be better options available at 21. Taking Christian Braun at 30 would be a win for Denver in my books though.