Bama Hoops Hype

Is Braxton Key a Serious NBA Prospect?

Joe Habshey - Bama Hoops Hype

After averaging 12 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 43% shooting, Alabama forward Braxton Key has declared for June’s NBA Draft. Because he has not signed an agent, he is still eligible to return to the Tide next season should he choose to pull out.

The question Alabama fans want to know is this: Is Key a serious prospect to get drafted? And even if someone does pick him up, who and where?

NBA Prospect Breakdown of Key:

Offense

-Key was Alabama’s leading scorer last season, but at just 12 points per game, he doesn’t jump out on paper as an elite scorer. Only Bola Olaniyan finished the season averaging more rebounds per game (6.0) and only Dazon Ingram had more assists (3.3 per game).

-At 6-8, 220, Key is incredibly nimble for his size. He can split the defense on a dribble-drive with his exceptional ball-handling as can be seen in his game against Kentucky:

-In that home game against the Wildcats, Key unleashed a beautiful spin move (45-second mark of clip above).

-Though he shot 43% from the field, he only managed shot a 33% clip from 3. His 3-point shot was stymied by an elongated gathering motion in which he bends his knees at an angle and dips his hips deep before rising for the shot. Key has a very smooth looking mid-range shot, but will need to find a way to become more consistent from deep with his shooting motion

-Staggeringly athletic for a guy with his size and build. He takes long strides and uses his long frame well, especially on lay ups and when in tight spots.

-One of Key’s most questionable areas –his Free Throw shooting – is a head-scratcher. He made only 63% of his shots from the charity stripe, but his shooting form looks much like his 3PT-shot formation: he dips knees low and at an angle.

Defense

-Key tied for 4th on the team in blocks on the year.

-He showed the ability to defend both small forwards and guards, and has the skill set to protect the perimeter against stretch-four power forwards.

-Will need to improve footwork in order to play effective man-to-man on elite Guard/Forward hybrids.

Overall: Should Key go through with the draft process, it would be a tough path full of uncertainty. However, with the high amount of upside Key brings to the table at 6-8, I would expect for him to be a fringe 2nd round project. While he may could prove himself during training camps and workouts, Braxton would likely log a decent chunk of minutes in the D-League – at least until he is able to hit his potential. In the long run, I could see Braxton becoming a major contributor/role-player for a team looking to add an athletic wing. With only one season behind him though, and less than eye-popping statistics, it will be an uphill battle for former Alabama forward.

Jake Weaver is a contributor to Bama Hoops Hype and Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can reach him at 205-612-5060 or on Twitter @JAWeaver0

Facebook Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login