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Braun puts emphasis on his shooting in NBA Summer League

Taylor Braun

FARGO – Becoming more versatile may not be the best way for Taylor Braun to find a spot on an NBA roster.

Improving his strengths could be the best strategy for the former North Dakota State guard.

“At the next level, you don’t necessarily have to be versatile. If you can be great at one thing, you can make a roster,” Braun said. “So a lot of people said to keep working on my shooting, from being good to great.”

Braun will get a chance to showcase his talents in Las Vegas in mid-July. He’s set to play for the Phoenix Suns at the NBA Summer League, which runs from July 11-21.

The Suns summer league team is scheduled to play its first game at 7 p.m. on July 12 against Golden State.

“It’s exciting, but at the same time, I’m trying not to get too over emotional or anything like that,” said Braun, the Summit League player of the year in his final season at NDSU.

The 6-foot-7 Braun averaged 17.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his senior season, helping the Bison earn a spot in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament last March. Braun shot 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range.

Improving on those solid shooting numbers could be Braun’s ticket to earning an NBA roster spot.

“If you can do a bunch of things OK, you can get shut down, but if you can do one thing great, you can help a team,” he said.

Braun had been working out in Chicago since early April to prepare for last week’s NBA Draft. Braun wasn’t selected in either of the two rounds.

Braun worked out with other notable players like Michigan’s Nik Stauskas, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Michigan State’s Adreian Payne. All three were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

“At first, I was a little star struck,” Braun said. “It took a little bit of time, but I got more comfortable with the situation.”

Braun said he worked out for nine teams leading up to the draft. Teams mostly viewed Braun as a shooting guard or small forward. One team showed interest in looking at Braun at point guard.

While Braun had a couple summer league choices, he and his agent selected the Suns. They felt Braun has the best chance to get more playing time with the Suns’ summer league team, based on its roster makeup.

“If something doesn’t work out with Phoenix … hopefully I do well and impress another NBA team as well,” said Braun, who is being represented by Priority Sports, the same agency represents former NDSU star Ben Woodside.

Braun is open to playing professionally overseas if he’s unable to earn an NBA look, but he’s letting his agent worry about those overseas’ options.

“This is a business now,” Braun said. “I’m trying to make a career out of this. It’s just work.”

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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