POSITION: Small Forward
WEIGHT: 225 lbs
SCHOOL/ TEAM: Alabama
NBA Body - Rock solid build at 220
Versatility - Capable ball handler - can initiate the offense, good change of pace; Tons of potential as a playmaking combo forward
Grab & Go - Coast to coast ability off of a rebound, break starter
Athleticism - Very good athlete, decent quickness and handle, Quick first step
Using Ball Screens - At his best playing PNR when he can’t get downhill, strong enough to finish on bigs
Unselfish - Loves to pass and make plays for others
Cutting - Does a good job making cuts off the ball
Slashing - Drives to the basket out of control - often off balance resulting in low percentage shots; Doesn't finish well in traffic
Shooting - Definitely not a shooter (63% foul shooter too). Poor rotation on his shot; Awful shooter off the bounce, awful shooter in general
Decision making - Doesn’t trust his jumper so he drives into congestion; Takes poor angles in PNR and settles for jumpers
Turnovers - Poor ball security and decision making, negative assists to turnover ratio
Measuring in at 6’8” and 225 lbs, Braxton Key is physically the prototypical combo forward of today’s NBA. Key is more of a playmaking small forward, capable of beating his man off the dribble. At Alabama Coach Avery Johnson often gave Key the keys (pun intended) to run the offense for the Crimson tied who just missed making the NCAA Tournament.
Braxton Key is at his best when he’s initiating the offense in high PNR. He’s got an advanced handle for someone his size as he uses in and out combination moves to set up defenders so he can come cleanly off screens. Again, with him being 225 and athletic, Key can absorb contact from bigger defenders and finish at the rim. With the arrivals of two highly touted freshmen guards, it’ll be interesting to see if Coach Johnson will allow Key the same playmaking freedom. Braxton has decent vision, particularly in PNR due to his excellent size.
On the surface there’s a lot to like about Key, but when you dig deeper into the film, his flaws outweigh his strengths. Key can’t shoot at all and he has some of the ugliest misses. He’s got some kind of weird rotation on his shot where the ball almost dies in mid air. For someone that handles the ball so much, he’s really not a threat off of the dribble. Catching and shooting isn’t very good either and Key shooting 63% from the foul line isn’t helping his case. Another big flaw is Key’s overall decision making. He can wow you with a good pass in traffic but then fall over or try to make a play that just isn’t there. He averaged more turnovers than assists so is he really a guy you want handling the ball a lot?
JAMES BARLOWE - OCTOBER 13, 2017
Here is a breakdown of Key's possessions over the 2016-17 season