|Team: Reggio Calabria|
H: 6' 10"|
W: 229 lbs
(28 Years Old)
|RSCI: 52||Agent: Andy Miller ||
High School: Brewster Academy
Hometown: Palmdale, CA
Drafted: Pick 21 in 2010 by Thunder
Best Case: Channing Frye
Worst Case: Marc Salyers
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2010||NBA Draft Combine||6' 8.5"||6' 9.75"||229||7' 0"||9' 1"||7.9||26.0||35.0|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2010||NBA Draft Combine||6' 8.5"||6' 9.75"||229||7' 0"||9' 1"||7.9||26.0||35.0|
After putting up outstanding individual numbers during his sophomore season and laboring over his decision to declare for the 2009 NBA Draft throughout the spring, Craig Brackins surprised most of the basketball community with his decision to return to school. Pegged as a potential lottery pick last spring, the 22-year old California native took a huge risk in returning to Ames at the urging of his former AAU coach T.J. Otzelberger (now an assistant coach at Iowa State), as heíd be asked once again to shoulder a heavy load at ISU, for better or worse. Thus far, the risk hasn't paid off, as Brackinsí team looks far from being NCAA tournament worthy and his draft stock is faltering badly as his efficiency and rebounding numbers have taken major hits.
When we analyzed the situational statistics of last yearís power forward crop, we identified Brackins as one of the prospects who wasnít benefiting from the play of their teammates. Little has changed in that regard this season, as Brackins still has to create most of his offense on his own, earns very few easy baskets around the rim working off the ball, and is relied on as a go-to-scorer virtually all the time.
Though he displays the versatility to create his own shot in the post, he is unable to do so consistently, as his frame does not appear to have improved much from last year and heís still just an average athlete by NBA standards at best. Competitive teams are honing in on him more this season and are making a conscious effort to stop him, further limiting his ability to take advantage of his long frame and finesse game. The presence of Marquis Gilstrap hasn't helped either, as Brackins is deferring quite a bit to the athletic junior college transfer, looking very passive in some of Iowa Stateís games down the stretch.
The most prominent improvement Brackins appears to have made on paper revolves around his 3-point shooting, as heís hitting 47% of his 3-pointers on the season, compared with 28% last year. This may be a bit of a mirage, though, as heís only taken less than two attempts from beyond the arc, and hasnít been all that consistent from mid-range this season. Though Brackins is capable of hitting shots from range with more consistency when heís on, his form still wavers possession to possession, heís too eager to pull the trigger with a hand in his face early in the shot clock, and heís not nearly as effective when forced to take a contested jump shot a step inside the arc. His improved spot up ability has a lot to do with his comfort level shooting in rhythm with his feet set, but ultimately, his perimeter game is still a work in progress for the 22-year old.
Closer to the rim, not a lot has changed for Brackins from last season. He continues to get upwards of 40% of his touches in post-up situations according to the data we have at our disposal. Brackinsís go-to-move in the post remains a quick jumper, which allows him to exploit his touch and length, but often forces him to settle for tough shots over defenders. He still tends to establish position closer to the midrange than the block, and doesnít make assertive moves to the rim unless he already has his man sealed to one side on the catch. Brackins often looks most comfortable letting his man push him out to the perimeter and then going one-on-one, though opposing defenses are doing a better job forcing him to give the ball up in such situations. There are plenty of question marks about how this part of his game will translate against NBA caliber athletes considering his average physical tools (frame, strength, explosiveness) and toughness.
Defensively, Brackins still looks shaky defending the perimeter, and his frame doesnít project well when trying to determine how heíll fare against NBA caliber post scorers. Even more concerning is the fact that his rebounding numbers have come back down to earth this season, something that was a major concern going into his sophomore season as you can read from his earlier scouting reports on this site. Brackins isnít the strongest, most explosive or active player, which limits his impact on the glass when surrounded by better athletes.
With Marquis Gilstrap translating his dynamic rebounding ability to the NCAA level, Brackins has regressed as a rebounder; his production in this area has dropped by 25%. He continues to be a paltry offensive rebounder, ranking last amongst all collegiate draft prospect centers in that category and 8th worst out of the 117 power forwards in our database.
This isnít a new development for Brackins--he simply isnít able to compete for loose balls in traffic. He displays active hands and has his moments defending the rim, but needs to become a more fundamentally sound defender to overcome his lack of outstanding lateral quickness, explosiveness and bulk and show better intensity to answer the serious question marks scouts have about his motor.
When it comes down to it, Brackins simply hasnít had the season that his talents and play last season seem to warrant. As of now, it is clear that he would have been better served to declare in 2009. Heís still talented enough to warrant a pick in the first round, but unlike last season, he has significantly more to prove in the draft process, and much stronger competition at his position this time around. A year older than many of his classmates, Brackins seems destined to at least test the waters this summer to see if there are any teams still enamored with his potential. His play in the Big 12 will dictate just how much work heíll have to do to solidify his NBA draft stock.
Rising junior Craig Brackins has already been detailed and analyzed a great deal on this website, but his unique blend of size and skill continually prompt us to further examine his game and potential. After a sophomore season that saw him come within a handful of rebounds (17 to be exact) of averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, the 6-10 forward surprisingly decided to return for at least one more season at Iowa State before trying his hand at the NBA. Barring some type of major injury, the question at this point for Brackins isnít if he will be drafted, but how high and by whom?
When we last looked at the 22 year-old (next month) big man Ė about two-thirds of the way through last season Ė the biggest changes we noted physically focused on the tone he showed in his body and how the drop in body fat had helped him move. That much was and still is apparent as Brackins has significantly more energy on the floor, particularly on the defensive glass (something we have noted) where he hauls in a great percentage of his rebounds simply by outworking opponents. He also looks visibly quicker off the dribble both on the perimeter and in the post, something that helps immensely against defenders who have a distinct strength advantage over the still thin junior. There is no question though that he still needs to put up a good amount of bulk onto his body to effectively compete at the next level.
Brackins continues to become more and more physical when operating in the post, but it is doubtful he will ever be a true grind it out big man who can overpower defenders. The perimeter based skill set that makes the California native such an intriguing prospect to NBA scouts is very much evident in his back to the basket game. He continues to rely mainly on a quick turnaround jumper and a soft baby hook to the middle of the paint, a shot he can get off over most defenders give his length. In a rugged Big 12 conference that features more than its share of tough and talented frontcourt players, donít expect that aspect of Brackinsí game to suddenly change. He is and will most likely always be a finesse big man ala Channing Frye, but he does get to the free throw line at an excellent rate. Dealing with double teams continues to be an issue for Brackins who doesnít yet have the court awareness to sense them coming on a regular basis, but when he does anticipate the defense, he does a good job of spinning away from the pressure.
Isolation sets continue to be where Brackins is at his most dangerous and we mentioned earlier that he ranked as one of the best power forwards in last yearís draft class when it came to scoring in these scenarios. The junior is the classic matchup nightmare, with the strong handles and adequate enough quickness to break down big men who venture out to cover him on the perimeter. He is still mainly a player who will only attack in a straight line, but is getting more comfortable with a spin move he can execute. When facing smaller defenders who bring quickness, he counters with his soft stroke and ability to shoot over them. This touch only seems to be consistent from mid-range right now, as his form becomes more awkward and inconsistent the further out he moves.
The knock on Brackins defensively during the midway point of last season was his inability to play effectively when stepping away from the paint; the second half of the year didnít do much to change those thoughts. It has to be remembered, being a big man with a strong skill set geared towards playing away from the basket doesnít automatically equate into being a superior athlete. Brackins isnít a tremendous physical specimen, although he does run the open floor very well. Quickness and explosiveness are not a part of his makeup though and this has caused him to struggle guarding the pick-and-roll while also failing to be a shot blocking presence at his size. Weíve already mentioned that he looks most comfortable covering traditional post players inside, but given his frame and skill set, he will need to be able to cover opposing players away from the rim, as well as get stronger to handle the much more physically imposing big men that heíll find in the NBA.
In all, Brackins didnít do a tremendous amount in the final six weeks of the season to drastically change the book on him. He has a very nice skill set for a face up power forward, and his improved rebounding ability makes him a lot more attractive despite his defensive shortcomings. What it comes down to now is fine tuning a lot of the finer points of his game: improving the consistency of his stroke as he moves towards the perimeter, handling added defensive pressure better and anticipating better as a perimeter defender. Brackins is always going to wind up making some poor offensive decisions while he is at Iowa State, given the fact that he must single-handedly carry that team, these are unavoidable. Cutting down on these mistakes though will go a long way to showing pro scouts that he is ready and deserving of a high first round pick. After his breakout season last year, the onus will be on him to continue to improve and keep NBA decision makers as high as they were during the pre-draft process on his pro potential.
Craig Brackins struggled from the opening session, playing with some type of flu in the first day and then deciding to sit out the morning practice of the second day. When he was on the floor, he had a very difficult time with the altitude and was constantly clutching his shorts. His body doesnít look a great deal better than it did last season, and he didnít do much more than settle for jumpers on the offensive end. Defensively, he had a very difficult time guarding some of the stronger big men he was forced to match up with.[Read Full Article]
Craig Brackins is getting plenty of love these days from various NBA decision makers, but he was obviously not a very efficient player at the collegiate level, as his situational stats indicate. Brackins indeed ranks dead last in overall efficiency (44.3%) of the 24 PFs, which tells us a little bit about his shortcomings, but also quite a bit about how he was utilized at Iowa State.
Brackins ranks last in possessions finished around the basket (which does not include post-ups)óindicating the problems Iowa State's guards in creating easy looks for him around the rim. He shot quite a few jumpers, with mixed results (making just 32%), many of which he had to generate on his own in tough off the dribble situations. He saw a considerable amount of time grinding with his back to the basket in the postóover 10 possessions per game, second amongst all PFs to just Luke Harangodyóand only saw moderate success there as well (45% FG).
Iowa State rarely got out in transition from what we could see (Brackins ranks last in that category), and Brackins rarely saw the ball as a pick and roll finisher or moving off cuts to the rim either, which helps explain his lack of efficiency compared with the Jeff Pendergraphs and Patrick Pattersons of the world.
These are all things Brackins will probably think about when he makes the final decision to return to school or not next year. With that said, Brackins' excellent skill level still does jump off the page when you see how favorably he ranks in his ability to operate out of isolation sets (being the second most prolific PF in this category, while converting on 49% of his attempts), as well as his ability to make pull-up jumpers (he ranks 3rd).
One thing to keep in mind is that Iowa State is one of the teams that Synergy's is missing stats for from their much weaker out of conference scheduleóthey currently have data for about 71% of Brackins' possessions.
Craig Brackins has improved just as much as any prospect in the country from his freshman to sophomore campaign, nearly doubling his scoring and rebounding outputs, despite only playing 4 more minutes a game. It appears that the big man is truly realizing how to utilize his talents, and he is in turn establishing himself as one of the top scoring threats in the Big 12.
While listed at the same weight, Craig appears much more toned and muscular then when we evaluated him last season. It is not a coincidence that with his newly sculpted figure that he is also getting off of the ground higher then he was during his freshman campaign. Brackinsí motor has seemed to improve as well, as he is now getting up and down the floor and playing harder than any other time we evaluated him.
The most notable place this can be seen is in his rebounding ability. Heís gone from pulling down a paltry 7.3 rebounds per-40 minutes pace adjusted in 07-08 to a very impressive 12 this season. Thatís a huge deal for his NBA draft stock, and something teams will likely monitor very closely moving forward.
Substantial improvement has been made to the California nativeís back to the basket game. Once a player who only preferred to play facing the rim, he is now a fairly dangerous low post scorer in the pivot. Combining his perimeter skills with his size, he offers a variety of turn-around jumpers out of the post, as well as flashes of a developing jump hook. The large majority of his offense in fact comes in the low post. More importantly the sophomore is playing much tougher then he did in the past, doing a very solid job of shedding the ďsoftĒ label that was placed on him early in his career. Heís not much of a leaper, but heís certainly doing a better job creating high percentage scoring opportunities.
The perimeter skills that Brackins has shown since his prep days are still very much evident in his game today. Combining a smooth outside jumper with a nice first step, he is able to beat most big men off of the dribble. He is perfectly capable of playing the pick and pop game at the next level considering his ability to consistently shoot the ball from mid-range and his constantly developing three point shot. Brackins isnít the steadiest shooter youíll find at just 31% from beyond the arc and 67% from the free throw line, as his shot-selection isnít great and he still tends to fall in love with the perimeter on occasion. He still shows excellent potential in this area regardless as a power forward who is capable of spacing the floor. With that said, itís good to see him shooting less 3-pointers this season and far more free throws.
One glaring area of Brackins that has certainly not improved is his ability to pass the ball or react well to a double team. He struggles desperately reading the defense and making the simple pass when faced with multiple defenders, often attempting difficult skip passes across the court that are picked off. The prep school product also tends to rely on his size a bit too much, rarely using his left hand in the paint. Considerable improvement must be made in both of these areas if he hopes to fully reach his potential at the next level.
While Brackinsí toughness and ability to rebound the ball have improved greatly, he is still a ways away in terms of man to man defense. He still struggles defending the pick and roll game, either not hedging out well enough or struggling defending the roll man once he receives the ball. Opposing coaches still tend to give their power forwards isolation situations facing the basket against Brackins, attempting to exploit his subpar lateral quickness. Brackins is not bad defending the low post by any means, appearing to be much more comfortable defending opposing centers rather than power forwards. His limited explosiveness means that heís not going to be much of a shot-blocking threat, even at the college level.
Brackinsí package of size, skill, and productivity have cemented his status as a draft prospect, even if his athletic ability leaves something to be desired. At 21 years old, he is a full year older then the majority of prospects in the sophomore class. While the NBA will certainly be an option at the conclusion of this season, he might have a chance to really make a run at being a high pick in 2010, given the plethora of skilled big men who could make the jump this season. Most NBA scouts still donít really know much about him at this point, although that could change pretty quickly if Brackins is able to help Iowa State win some more games. They have a big one coming up this week against Oklahoma and Blake Griffin, and the stands should be packed with scouts and executives in town to evaluate that matchup.
Rebuilding Iowa Stateís chances of success will rest largely on the shoulders of sophomore Craig Brackins, who looks to build off of a promising freshman season. The well traveled forward made stops at three different states during his prep days (Lancaster HS in California, Boys to Men Academy in Illinois, and Brewster Academy in New Hampshire) before finding his eventual home at Iowa State.
Standing 6í10 and weighing 230 pounds, Craig has an ideal body for a power forward prospect. Although not incredibly strong at the moment, he has a frame that has the potential to add plenty of weight over the next few years. Running the floor is not an issue for Brackins and he has showed a much improved motor during his first season in college then he did at the high school ranks. He is a good leaper who can play above the rim, although it is not so evident with his tendency to fall in love with the jumpshot.
Brackinsí offensive skill set is definitely the selling point of what he offers as a prospect. He is a very skilled big man capable of playing both inside and out. Although only a sophomore, he has already displayed a solid understanding of how to play the pick and roll game and has established himself as a deadly pick and pop threat out to the three point line (as seen by his 33 point performance against Baylor that included 8 three pointers). Brackins is also capable of putting the ball on the floor a couple of times and taking slower big men off of the dribble when given the opportunity from the perimeter.
In the low post, the California native has proven to be comfortable going towards either shoulder and finishing with ease. He lacks a vast array of power moves, usually opting to go for a number of turnaround jumpers and jump hooks with either hand, and often lacking the strength and toughness to finish through contact, which leads him to take low-percentage shots. Brackins doesnít do an outstanding job of finding the open man when double teamed, and often settles for jumpers far more than one would like to see out of a player his size. He shot a paltry 43% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc. Regardless, it is the offensive package that Brackins offers that makes him one of the more intriguing long-term prospects the Big 12 has to offer.
Defensively, there is a great deal of room for improvement for Brackins that will need to be made before he can legitimately consider himself an NBA prospect. He is a poor rebounder (pulling down a very pedestrian 7.3 rebounds per 40 minutes), struggles defending the pick and roll, and often generally looks disinterested on this end of the floor. Guarding power forwards who face the basket is a major area of emphasis for Brackins, who was often faced with isolation situations last season due to his below average foot speed. As far as shot blocking is concerned, one would hope that a player with his size, length, and athleticism would be able to average more than one block per game. On the bright side, Brackins has shown promise as a positional defender in the low post at times, holding his ground against more traditional back to the basket players.
The graduation of seniors Rahshon Clark and Jiri Hubalek, along with the transfer of Wesley Johnson, will make Brackins the focal point of the Cyclone offense. Given his ability to score in a number of ways and his teamís lack of scoring punch, the potential is definitely there for Craig to put up monster numbers in the Big 12 this season. How he responds to the added responsibility of being the Cyclonesí go to guy will ultimately deem how quickly Brackins will be able to begin entertaining the possibility of jumping to the NBA, as well as the amount of strength he managed to add to his lanky frame over the offseason. Turning 21 years old before the 08-09 season kicks off, he is at least a year older than most players in his class.
Like Michael Beasley, Craig Brackins is another super talented forward who doesnít really ever seem to live up to his fullest potential on a consistent basis. Also like Beasley, Brackins did show fans how special he really is capable of becoming eventually, scoring 29 points and grabbing 7 rebounds tonight in a win over Massanutten Military Academy.
Brackins was an absolute nightmare for opposing power forwards to guard, as he can beat big men off the dribble from the perimeter, while also being a threat to score at will on the low blocks. While he is not a very physical player by any stretch of the matter, the Iowa State commit is nowhere near as soft as many have labeled him. He had no problem going down to the low post and scoring via jump hooks or smooth turnaround jumpers. Then once on the wing, Craig showed his outside shooting ability (knocked down two three pointers) and was able to blow past Massanutten big men off the dribble. He showed that he owns a very good skill set for a player of his size, and has proven time and time again that he can score on any level. Craig is walking into a great opportunity at Iowa State, where he shall assume an immediate importance in the teamís offense, as he is by far the most prized recruit the rebuilding Cyclones have landed since Marcus Fizer.
On the down side, Brackins has been known not to exert maximum (or near maximum for that matter) effort on a consistent basis, resulting in his inconsistent play over the last few years. He is not a good defender at the moment, although he is a good, but not great athlete and has good length for a power forward. As long as the Iowa State coaching staff is able to keep the California native motivated over his time as a Cyclone, they will have a super power forward on their hands. It is absolutely absurd that one well known recruiting network does not even list Brackins as a top100 player in the class of 2007, considering that there are no more then 20 players in the class more talented the him. All in all, it was an excellent performance and excellent effort by Craig, and hopefully Brewster coach Jason Smith is able to keep him motivated enough to where weíll see this now on a consistent basis.