Photo Credits: Coby Van Loan/OKC Thunder
Opening Tuesday night, it was apparent Moses Brown would be playing big time minutes. The 21-year-old saw his first-career start just two days prior in a Sunday duel with the Grizzlies, and with Al Horford out for the second consecutive game — it was his time to shine.
Brown did exactly that– and them some, dropping a mind-boggling 20 points (9-of-16 FG), 16 rebounds, and 5 blocks across 30 minutes of run.
The big man’s accolades didn’t just post career-bests in his 20th NBA contest, but he reached the franchise history books. Brown became the second member of the Thunder franchise to net 20 points, 15 rebounds, a 5 blocks in a game — joining only Serge Ibaka in the prestigious category.
Ibaka, 24 at the time, recorded a 21 point, 15 rebound, 5 block statline in a January 2014 matchup against the Houston Rockets — his matchup? Terrance Jones. Brown, 21, tallied his big night on Chicago bigs Lauri Markannen and Wendell Carter Jr. for the majority of the game, a pairing a tad more prestigious than a player known for his dominance on 2k.
Moses Brown took full advantage of his opportunity Tuesday night, making a real case as to why he should be starting full time. Let’s Break Down the Tape to see how Moses parted the red sea.
One of Moses Brown’s biggest qualities in his 14-game stretch with the Oklahoma City Blue came from his tenacity on the glass. Brown clobbered smaller defenders in Orlando, leading qualified G-League players in offensive rebounds (6.0) and offensive rebound percentage (18.5%) by colossal advantages.
Moses Brown made sure to use his 7-foot-2 height all over smaller defenders in Lauri Markannen (7-foot) and Wendell Carter Jr. (6-foot-10) all game to keep possessions alive.
Brown’s performance was no one-off thing, as aforementioned in his G-League stint, the big man towered over defenders playing ping-pong with the rim at times — that was no different on Tuesday.
The main reason Brown in able to establish himself so well inside comes from his high-level motor. Brown is a pogo stick when he gets positioning springing up and down, side-to-side to recollect the basketball, your everyday center can’t keep up with that. Brown uses his advantage to go full-throttle on putbacks, but as soon as defenders try to match speeds — he stops. Brown pump fakes, gets you in the air, and embarrasses you.
Rolling to the Basket
Moses slips right into Mark Daigneault’s screen-heavy offense. The 21-year-old played the exact same way under Blue coach Grant Gibbs, laying down hammers on G-League guards up top resulting in easy layups for guards or simple feeds inside to Brown.
It was a genuine shock to see Brown was the recipient of a Shai dump off just once in this game, it ultimately did not stop him.
Despite his paltry looks setting screens, it needs to called out that on a typical night, that may be his bread-and-butter. For 7-foot-2 Brown is the Usain Bolt of his division, there’s no one height wise keeping him stride for stride running to the basket, and for small-ball centers able to keep the pace — great. The only hitch with that is how are you going to cinch the gap against a player up to six-inches taller than you, and how will you do it covering SGA? — simple answer, you really cant.
Brown took his first try of laying a screen almost weaving through red jerseys, catching Markannen on a pump fake before trying to tear the rim down.
Brown’s second play off a screen came trying to screen for Theo Maledon. Maledon dished the basketball before Brown could set the pick, effectively ending the pick-and-roll, but it didn’t stop him for getting involved. Isaiah Roby breezed right by a flat-footed Otto Porter Jr. catching Wendell Carter Jr. in the air before another major two-handed jam.
Moses Brown camped in the lane all throughout his stay in Orlando, really becoming the focal point for all roots of offense. Brown did not just do this from dump offs and putbacks, he armed up a post game that nobody could solve — the same can be said Tuesday.
Brown hovered a safe distance away from the basket to spur up all post shots on Tuesday. The real premise in all his post shots (make or miss) came for abusing his size advantage. Brown plants his feet every time before hoisting off a hook — making defenders match his verticality as a byproduct.
At that point, Brown has done everything necessary. His shots turn into a practice drill, having a hand in his face but no real threat for a rejection on the play. With Brown and his man straight as pencils, it’s no surprise that Moses made Chicago pay.
Shot Blocking/ Agility
Moses Brown was a human flyswatter in Orlando, but his 5 block performance against Chicago was a number the center never even cracked with the Blue, only reaching 4 on two occasions.
Brown’s lanky frame gives off the placebo effect that he’s going to stray away from contact — that’s not the case.
Brown’s long strides makes his a candidate for chasedown blocks, and as Coby White dusted by Kenrich Williams for a layup, it seemed like a surefire two points. Moses shuffled his feet before taking two steps inside, bringing him from the free-throw line to the cylinder as fast as Coby White four steps got him to the cup, easy rejection.
At 7-foot-2, Brown standing tall already makes him a serious threat. The opposition see his 245-pound build and assume once again that clashes inside will garner a quick basket, or at worse a trip to the line. What opposing players don’t recognize is that Brown’s hops (and 7-foot-4 wingspan) mean you can attack him, but he’s staying in the air just as long as you are. Due to his vertical, his 90-degree plunges make a 9-foot brick wall you aren’t getting past. Two of his blocks came exactly off of this.
A part of his game that gets underlooked stems from his fastbreak play. Brown’s nimble feet mean that his trips across the court will trample a frontcourt member, and any guard not going 100-percent.
Once Brown gets his block, he’s already running. With his acceleration, he gets right back on the other side, resulting in fastbreak points, and even alley-oops.