How Brown, Hodge might fit in with interested NBA teams

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With the NBA Draft just one week away, former Mizzou Tigers Kobe Brown and D’Moi Hodge are on the verge of making their professional aspirations a reality. Both players appear to be rated as consensus top-100 prospects by draft analysts after Brown participated in the NBA Draft Combine and Hodge took part in the G League Elite Camp in May.

Since then, both players have tried to make a good impression with decision-makers in person, engaging in private workouts for teams, seven of which have been publicly announced. Here’s how Brown and Hodge could fit in with the teams that appear to be interested in them.

KOBE BROWN

Indiana Pacers (May 12)

Portland Trail Blazers (May 31)

Charlotte Hornets (June 8)

Though Brown played a lot of minutes at center while at Missouri, he’d be undersized at the position at the NBA level, listed at 6-foot-8, and will likely slide to power forward to make his place in lineups a little more natural. Brown worked out for the Pacers prior to going through the draft combine, along with Andre Jackson Jr., Jaime Jaquez, Arthur Kaluma, Grant Nelson and Liutauras Lelevicius from Lithuania. Based on the group, it’s clear Indiana is interested in adding depth at the forward spot to play alongside longtime starter Myles Turner. Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson and Jordan Nwora are the only players they have under contract at the position for next season. The Pacers have five picks in the draft — three in the first round and two in the second — that they could use on Brown.

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The Trail Blazers likewise have a longtime starting center in Jusuf Nurkic but have occasionally struggled to find the right player to pair next to him in the frontcourt. The team’s current starting four, Jerami Grant, is a free agent this offseason. Behind him, the team has Naasir Little, who’s listed at 6-foot-5, and Trendon Watford and Kevin Knox, both of whom have non-guaranteed contracts. Brown’s size could give Portland a different option to bring off the bench. The Blazers have one pick in both the first and second rounds they could take Brown with.

The need for someone at Brown’s position isn’t as clear in Charlotte, which has an abundance of players who can fill either forward spot. But what is a clear need for the Hornets is floor spacing, as they shot just 33.0% from beyond the arc as a team last season, which ranked second-worst in the NBA. Brown, who shot 45.5% from beyond the arc for the Tigers last year, could crack the rotation early on if he’s able to keep up his high accuracy at the next level. Charlotte has five picks in the draft — two in the first round and three in the second.

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D’MOI HODGE

Portland Trail Blazers (May 10)

Los Angles Lakers (June 8)

Washington Wizards (June 10)

Indiana Pacers (June 13)

Most analysts have Hodge going undrafted next week, but do see Hodge ending up on a roster next season, potentially on a two-way contract since the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will allow teams to sign three of those types of players instead of two. Hodge was Mizzou’s most prolific shooter a season ago, knocking down 40.0% of his treys on 7.1 attempts per game, and also broke the program record with 91 steals this season. His production on both ends of the floor will likely make him someone who’s sought after if he becomes a free agent.

Portland does seemingly have a lot of depth on the wings around all-star point guard Damian Lillard. But the Blazers were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, as opponents scored 118.0 points per 100 possessions, turned the ball over on just 13.6% of possessions and shot 37.8% from deep. Adding Hodge to the mix could improve the team’s defensive shortcomings.

The Wizards were in the bottom half of the league in both 3-point shooting and defensive rating, displaying an evident need for someone like Hodge. Washington hired a new team president, Michael Winger, in May and it was reported by The Athletic on Wednesday the team will look to trade all-star guard Bradley Beal, signaling that the Wizards could be looking to invest more playing time into younger members of their roster.

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The Lakers, on the other hand, are trying to contend for a championship and will likely seek out players who can make a difference from the get-go. L.A. was the sixth-worst shooting team in the league, making just 34.6% from outside. The team also has several of its guards hitting free agency this offseason, meaning it could be looking to find some replacements on the cheap.

The Pacers, like the Blazers, have spent a lot of its draft capital building out their depth at the guard spots, selecting Bennedict Mathurin in the first round last year and Chris Duarte in 2021. But similar to Portland, Indiana is another team that finished in the bottom five in defensive rating. Hodge would have a harder time getting onto the floor with the Pacers, but could have a positive impact when he does see playing time.

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