LSU's Johnny O'Bryant could be a fit for the Pelicans at center if they trade back into the NBA Draft. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft Profiles: Johnny O'Bryant


With news that the Pelicans are looking to trade into the NBA Draft to grab a small forward or center plenty of questions have been raised about the plan of the front office. Out of all of them though the most important seems to be which player, or players, have caught the eye of the front office enough to cause them to try to work themselves back into a pick. Instead of trying to guess exactly the player, Pelican Debrief has decided to just break down 18 small forwards and centers leading up to draft day (two reports will be posted daily) so that Pelicans fans will be ready no matter where or when the team trades into the draft and selects a player. 

LSU isn’t exactly known as a hotbed for NBA talent. Sure there was Shaquille O’Neal and Pete Maravich but recently the only players to come out of Baton Rouge are Tyrus Thomas, Brandon Bass, Glen Davis and Marcus Thornton. This year we get another player coming out of the area who will try to become the next really good NBA player from LSU, Johnny O’Bryant. O’Bryant was a top prospect coming out of high school in Mississippi and played well for the Tigers so it will be interesting to see how he continues to grow in the NBA.

The Basics: 

Age: 21

College: LSU

Height: 6′ 8.5”

Weight: 257 lbs

Wingspan: 7′ 2.25”

Standing Reach: 8′ 9”

Max Vertical: 35.5

Stats: 34 games, 30 mpg, 15.4 ppg, 49.6 FG%, 63.4 FT%, 7.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.9 bpg.

Draft Projections: Second Round


O’Bryant can score in the paint. While he isn’t the biggest guy or most explosive athlete O’Bryant knows how to use his abundance of strength to earn position on the block and in front of the rim and is able to use either hand to finish once he gets good positions. The finishing isn’t perfect, O’Bryant’s left hand can get a bit inconsistent and against incredibly explosive athletes he can struggle due to being limited as an athlete, but there is a lot of hope and potential.

O’Bryant also showed a much improved mid-range jumper this season, knocking down 47 percent of his jump shots this year on around three shots a game. Obviously a one year jump in shooting percentages like O’Bryant had are a big scary but if he can continue to knock down that 15 to 18 footer he becomes a much more valuable NBA player.

Finally O’Bryant is clearly a hard worker. After being a bit heavy in high school and early in his college career O’Bryant has worked to get into much better shape in addition to clearly improving his game. With someone that still has plenty of rough edges the work ethic i s a nice sign from O’Bryant, there are plenty of players who don’t have it in the same position.


O’Bryant isn’t an explosive athlete and at 6’8.5” is a bit undersized for someone who can potentially see time at center in the NBA. His strength and wingspan should help things a bit and if he can stretch the floor to 15-18 feet it will give him a bit of an off the dribble game potentially to utilize to get him clean looks but both of those things are unknown at this point.

O’Bryant struggled rebounding the ball on defense during the 2013-2014 season. It could have been the product of having another very capable big man next to him but it is something that will at least raise some red flags going forward. He was a good offensive rebounder last year though so there is some hope.

O’Bryant also struggles with decision making. He was one of the most turnover prone players in college basketball last season when accounting for pace and at the next level the athletes he will face will make life harder. There have been flashes of good passing but on the whole O’Bryant really struggled passing out of double teams, which at least at first he thankfully won’t see often at the NBA level. Defensively he got in trouble at points as well by being slow on rotations and making questionable decisions once he got there as he fouled a lot.  If he improves the decision making there is clearly a role for O’Bryant in the NBA but if he can’t and is just going to turn the ball over and foul a lot it is hard to see him lasting.

Projected Role: At least at first it is hard to see O’Bryant being anything more than a third big man. If he continues to work on extending the range on the jumper though there is potential for more. Otherwise look for another Glen Davis, Brandon Bass type player.

Information and measurements for this scouting report came from DraftExpress. To read more about O’Bryant and check out his DX scouting report video head here. 

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