Kalani Brown will be a ‘Dream’ in the paint for Atlanta

Indiana Fever v Los Angeles Sparks Expect Kalani Brown to begin to reach her pro potential with the Atlanta Dream. | Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Dream acquired Kalani Brown, the seventh pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, from the Los Angeles Sparks. In Atlanta, Brown should contribute instantly, bringing inside and outside scoring to a Dream offense that struggled last season.

On the first day of the free agency signing period, the Atlanta Dream addressed one of their biggest needs by trading for Kalani Brown, the national champion Baylor Lady Bear who was the seventh pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft.

The Dream struggled with the most basic objective of basketball — scoring the ball. In particular, scoring points in the paint was a challenge, as only 37.4 percent of their average of 71.2 points per game came inside. These stats are not entirely unsurprising: The Dream’s primary bigs, Elizabeth Williams and Jessica Breland, are defense-first players and neither is equipped to be more than a complementary offensive option.

Before the 2019 season, the Dream sought to make their big rotation more offensively dynamic by acquiring Marie Gülich from the Phoenix Mercury to serve as a stretch big. Yet, Gülich’s shot eluded her in Atlanta. The Dream thus entered the offseason still searching for a big who could be an offensive force.

Brown brings exactly what the Dream desperately need.

Atlanta is sending Gülich, along with Brittany Sykes, to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for Brown.

On a Los Angeles squad teeming with bigs, Brown did not receive consistent opportunity during her rookie season but flashed her offensive potential anyway, despite limited minutes. At 6’7’’, Brown possesses the size needed to play with power in the paint, and her quickness and soft touch on her jumper make her a multidimensional offensive threat. Brown can score from the midrange, and, possibly, from behind the arc.

In a statement, Dream head coach Nicki Collen shared her enthusiasm for Brown’s diverse skill set, stating:

While Kalani’s size is important on the boards and around the rim, she also has the ability to consistently step outside the lane and hit the face-up shot. In a league full of exceptional centers, we believe we have added a player who has all the tools to be very successful in our system.

Brown turned in one of her best games of her rookie season against the Dream last year — allowing Collen to see Brown’s potential up close. Brown scored 12 points in 20 minutes on 6-of-10 shooting in that game. Brown showed similar offensive efficiency in the WNBA offseason. Before the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association paused the season due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Brown was averaging 24.8 points per game for the Xinjiang Magic Deer on 67.8 percent shooting.