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Patrick O’Bryant NBA Draft Scouting Report

Patrick O’Bryant NBA Draft Scouting Report
May 13, 2006, 08:13 pm
Strengths
Patrick O’Bryant has the type of body that will always attract NBA attention. O’Bryant is legitimately 7 feet tall, and has an outstanding frame. Despite already weighing in at 260 pounds, O’Bryant has plenty of room to add weight. While O'Bryant doesn't appear particularly athletic at first glance, he is that and more when you consider just how big he is.He posses a 7’5 wingspan and a 9’4 standing reach, freakish even for NBA standards. By the time he is done developing, he could be one of the more physically imposing big men in the NBA.

Of course, there is more than just a prototype NBA body here. O’Bryant is your classic late bloomer, after a non-descript high school career and very little high-D1 recruiting interest (local school Minnesota didn’t offer him). He has made a stunning turnaround at Bradley, developing into a force as a rebounder and shot blocker, and dramatically improving his all-around game. Obviously, improvement like this doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and dedication. For this reason, it is likely that O’Bryant will continue to improve down the road.

While he isn’t even close to filling out his frame, O’Bryant already has the size and bulk to be an imposing position defender in the NBA. He overpowered nearly every true center he went up against at the college level, and isn’t done adding bulk. He can move opponents off the block, while his long arms allow him to recover and alter the shots of big men that aren’t used to having their shots contested.

O’Bryant is a dominant shot blocker, able to alter shots with either hand. While he isn’t as bouncy as many of the nation’s leading swatters, he is quick off his feet for a player his size. Typical back to the basket scorers have trouble with his size and length, and O’Bryant does a great job of not just blocking shots as a help defender, but also altering the shots of the man he is guarding.

O’Bryant has been more of a shot blocker and rebounder for most of his two seasons at Bradley, but has recently shown signs of a developing offensive game. He does a great job of getting position close to the basket. While a player his size should always be able to physically dominate smaller defenders in the MVC, O’Bryant proved that he can get position and convert against players his own size in the NCAA Tournament this past March.

O’Bryant is very tough to stop once he gets the ball close to the basket, as he is very strong finisher. Using that potent combination of strength, size, and athleticism, he can power up and dunk where most post players would have to rely on a finesse move. He is either bigger or more athletic than almost anybody he could face at the college level.

As far as a back to the basket game, O’Bryant is still raw, but progressing. He utilizes hook shot and drop step moves, and appears to have a basic understanding of how to score on the low blocks. With his ability to gain position close to the basket and his wingspan, O’Bryants jump hook could be particularly devastating down the road.

While O’Bryant still has a lot to work on, he is already proving to be much more than just a prospect. Teams that attempted to attack him early in games near the end of the season came away largely unsuccessful. Don’t think for a minute that O’Bryant’s mere presence in the middle (even in the games where he didn’t score a lot of points) wasn’t a major reason Bradley was able to make a Sweet 16 run this season.


Weaknesses
Like with many young big men, there are questions about O’Bryant’s on-court demeanor and motor. When things are going well for him, he is very assertive and physical. If he or his team is struggling, he has a tendency to disappear. While O’Bryant certainly can’t be criticized too much for his approach to the game, he needs to work on giving maximum effort more consistently.

Part of this may be conditioning, as O’Bryant tends to get winded very quickly. Despite clearly being Bradley’s game changer this season, Jim Les would have to sit O’Bryant down for significant stretches of games. He began to play more late in the season, but still averaged just 25.7 mpg on the season.

O’Bryant will also use a bit more work in the weight room. Even though we gush about his frame, O’Bryant needs to continue to develop to become an imposing force at the NBA level. He overpowers players at the college level, but the NBA contains and entirely different level of strength and physicality.

For all of O’Bryant’s deceptive fluidity and raw power, his game still comes off as a bit mechanical at the moment. He tends to struggle against stockier, more athletic big men that can knock him off balance a bit. This also shows up on the glass, where he oftentimes fails to gain position against more athletic big men, and on the defensive end, where he sometimes struggles to rotate quickly.

O’Bryant’s offensive game is coming along, but he still needs to improve his footwork dramatically. His post moves sometimes look clumsy and unrefined for this reason. O’Bryant has gone along way to proving that his back to the basket game is more than simply being bigger than everybody he goes up against, but he certainly could be a more dominant offensive player in the size-deficient MVC.

O’Bryant is also clearly lacking a perimeter game. This isn’t a big deal right now for a player that is likely to make his living within five feet of the basket, but at some point he should probably add a 10-15 foot jumper to his arsenal. He also completely lacks a left hand at this point.

Finally, there is little doubt that O’Bryant has a steep learning curve in front of him, moving from the MVC to the NBA. O’Bryant wasn’t what you would call a scoring force even at the mid-major level, and going up against players his own size will definitely take some getting used to. O’Bryant proved a lot against Pittsburgh and Aaron Gray in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, but still has to show that he can produce and compete consistently at higher levels of basketball.


Competition
O’Bryant plays in the Missouri Valley. This year’s NCAA Tournament proved just how competitive the MVC actually is, and O’Bryant’s Bradley squad was a major part of that. However, the conference contained little in terms of one-on-one competition for a 7-footer as imposing as Patrick O’Bryant.

O’Bryant came out of nowhere his freshman season to make a major impact. He finished the season strong, averaging nearly 17 points and 5 blocks in his last four games. On the season, he averaged 10 ppg, 7.4 rpg, and 2.8 bpg in 23.1 mpg, shooting 55.7% from the field and 70.1% from the line.

O’Bryant truly broke out as a sophomore, after sitting out the non-conference slate due to an NCAA-imposed suspension. He led the Bradley to an upset of Northern Iowa in his first game back, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Bradley won seven games in a row late in the season, advancing all the way to the MVC championship game and earning an NCAA Tournament berth. O’Bryant’s 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a Tourney semifinal win over Wichita State probably locked up the bid.

The Braves would advance to the Sweet Sixteen, upsetting Kansas in the first round and Pittsburgh in the second. It was O’Bryant’s 28 point performance against Aaron Gray that put him in the national spotlight. On the season, O’Bryant averaged 13.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, and 2.9 bpg in 25.7 mpg. He shot 55.2% from the floor, and 67.6% from the line.


Outlook
O’Bryant is quickly emerging as the top true center prospect in the 2006 NBA Draft. His upside is immense, with a potent combination of length, strength, and athleticism. There are 7-footers stronger than O’Bryant and 7-footers quicker than O’Bryant, but very few that are both. He still has much work to do, both in the weight room and on the court, but the rate at which O’Bryant has improved over the past two seasons is very encouraging. The light bulb is very clearly going on, and that is more than you can say about plenty of big men who never truly get it. He will need to continue to polish his offensive game, work on his conditioning and give more consistent effort, but all the pieces are there for Patrick O’Bryant to develop into a very effective NBA big man within the next two years. At the moment O’Bryant is a late lottery pick to mid first rounder, with the potential to move higher.

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