At the risk of Ron Baker-overload — right, no such thing — here’s some leftovers from ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla after the Pan Am Games.
Fraschilla counted 10 NBA teams represented by scouts at the Pan Am Games. They saw Baker do many things NBA teams value — he defended older players, he adjusted to the FIBA three-point line and he played hard against good, although not elite, competition.
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“This doesn’t mean he’s going to be a lottery pick by any stretch,” Fraschilla said. “But he did not hurt his chances as far as playing at the next level. He’s athletic enough. He defends well enough. He’s skilled. He’s got a lot of attributes that can get him on a roster.”
Baker made 5 of 14 threes in Toronto. At WSU, he is a career 37.7 percent three-point shooter and coming off his best accuracy at 38.3 percent (80 of 209) as a junior. Bumping that up two or three percentage points would help his NBA profile.
“The one thing that can take him to another level in the eyes of the NBA is becoming just an absolutely consistent three-point shooter,” Fraschilla said. “The average Shocker fan would say he’s a great shooter. By college standards, he is. When you take that NBA line, which is three feet further than the college line … that’s probably the one thing that is going to take him to another level. If he shoots it great, as opposed to above-average, it’s really going to help his stock.”
▪ I heard and read a lot of Bobby Brown blowback from Shockers fans, who wanted to see Baker get more shots. It was certainly a different look watching a shoot-first guard play with Baker.
Fraschilla expressed no issues with Brown’s play. He gave Team USA an experienced guard, well-versed in FIBA’s style, who could create his shot late in the 24-second clock.
“When you don’t have a team that’s practiced long and you don’t have the cohesiveness, the last seven seconds of the shot clock comes quickly,” Fraschilla said. “That’s why you saw a guy like Bobby Brown try to make plays and force stuff. He was the one guy on the team that could go get a shot, literally, any time he wanted. That’s what he does in China. It wasn’t that he was being selfish. It’s just that without practice time … Brazil, those guys practice summer after summer with the same coach.”
Brown led Team USA by averaging 17.6 points, making 40 percent of his shots (29 of 71) and 35 percent of his threes (12 of 34). He took almost twice as many shots as any other player. He finished with 22 assists and six turnovers while playing almost 30 minutes a game.