2022 NBA Draft: Christian Braun would fit well with the Mavericks

Christian Braun has been one of my favorite draft prospects all season long, and things only got better and better as the year went on. Braun was one of the main contributors on the Kansas Jayhawks team that won the 2022 National Championship. Now, he has his sights set on the NBA.

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 209 lbs

Wingspan: 6’6.5”

Offense

  • Good spot-up shooter
  • Athletic finisher
  • Relentless around the rim
  • Not afraid to finish through contact
  • Decent passer
  • Loves to run in transition

Defense

  • Solid on-ball defender
  • Light on his feet
  • Rebounds the ball at an elite level
  • Can guard multiple positions
  • Stronger than he looks
  • High IQ

If everything goes right: Poor man’s Jaylen Brown

If everything goes wrong: Josh Okogie

Most realistic outcome: Keldon Johnson

2021-22 All Big 12 Second Team

2022 All Big 12 Tournament Team

2022 NCAA Tournament All-Region

@SJU

31 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 10-16 FG

vs. KSU

20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 8-12 FG

vs. UNC (National Championship)

12 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 40 minutes played

1. Athleticism

Braun’s wingspan isn’t great, but he makes up for that with otherwordly athleticism. At the NBA combine, he tied for 2nd in standing vertical leap and finished third in max vertical leap. He uses his athleticism to make up for what he lacks in wingspan defensively.

On offense, he uses his athleticism to get to the rim at will. Whether it’s in the halfcourt or in transition, Braun always finds ways to get to the rim. He’s a good finisher with a deep bag of tricks both above and below the rim.

The best way he uses his athleticism? On the glass. Braun averaged nearly seven rebounds per game last season and was a big reason why Kansas was able to be successful with their small-ball lineups. Braun always feels like the guy that comes out of a rebound scrum with the ball.

2. Shooting

Braun isn’t Steph Curry, but he’s solid from deep, shooting nearly 38% during his career at Kansas.

There’s a lot of room to improve for Braun in the shooting department, though. He needs to speed up his release and develop a better midrange pull-up. But those are things that will come with time and reps. For now, he’s a solid enough shooter to space the floor.

3. Versatility

Braun fits perfectly in today’s NBA. He won’t be a stopper switching one through five on defense, but he won’t get bullied either. He’s stronger than he looks, and he always competes. He’s a lot like Dorian Finney-Smith in that way.

The Mavericks have a couple of solid wings in Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock to play next to Luka Doncic, but they need more. Josh Green can’t be the guy they go to for small-ball lineups or to give DFS/Bullock a break.

Christian Braun can be that guy. I doubt he’ll ever average 20 points per game in the NBA, but he should be an impact player right away. He’s the type of guy every team needs more of. To get him on a rookie contract would be fantastic. He probably won’t be an All-Star, but he definitely won’t suck.

There are a lot of things the Dallas Mavericks could do with the 26th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. They need wing depth. They need big men. They need ball handlers. They could trade the pick for someone already in the league. They could trade up. They could trade down. But if the Mavericks stay pat at 26, they should take Braun if he’s still on the board. He’s a guy that can contribute right away to meaningful basketball and has the potential to be a solid starter.

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