Down goes Brown – very slightly down, to Melbourne

Twelve months ago, Ben Brown was on the cusp of signing a lucruitive long term deal that would have likely made him a Roo for life.

After a horrible 2020 season for the club and himself, Brown is swapping white out for red as he joins the Demons for 2020.

Melbourne’s forward setup has struggled to find a groove since their 2018 Preliminary Final run, often relying on the brute force approach of repeated entries and a shifting array of makeshift targets.

As taller targets up forward, the Dees have cycled through (deep breath) Hogan, Watts, Weideman, Jackson, Brown, McDonald, Preuss, Petty…

That’s a long list for a short period of time, and Brown presents a new hope up forward.

Brown had a pretty poor 2020, both due to North’s upfield collapse and his personal circumstances, and this has somewhat reduced how he is projected for the next few years.

On the other hand, Brown kicked 60 goals three years running from 2017 to 2019, serving as the unquestioned primary focus of a North setup geared to give him maximum space, even to the extent of starting just 3 players inside forward 50 before that was outlawed.

He has two truly elite skills in his bag – two more than most players in the league. Due to his height, leaping ability and speed, few can take marks on leads as well as the man from Tasmania. When he clunks a grab, he is also very good at slotting shots on goal.

But there are real questions about his ability when the ball hits the deck, and the defensive pressure he applies as a tall forward. As the game continues to rapidly evolve, these skills have become more critical for talls to possess.

His upside on known capabilities is therefore substantial, with the HPN Salary Projection Tool showing based on his past that he could be worth nearly twice as much as projected by PAPLEY:

There are certainly questions about Brown’s flexibility. Unfortunately, there’s not really a second string to his bow, and Melbourne may need to reshape their gameplan to get the most out of Brown.

The trade is a fairly straight forward one. Brown is being treated as roughly worth a late second round pick, by a club trying to offload him. North’s desire to get rid of him helps drive the value down even despite his well known upside.

Verdict: Fair trade on Brown’s current reduced projection, but will swing in Melbourne’s favour if he turns out more of those 60 goal seasons.

Note: This post is part of a series of posts using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Readers can explore these values with tools such as 5-year player value projection charts and a Salary Prediction tool as well as the HPN Trade Calculator to evaluate potential trades.

Elsewhere, read much more about the method and theory behind PAVExpressing the value of players and picks in terms of expected future PAV provides a common currency for comparing them in trades and other movements. Players are projected using PAPLEY, a method to derive expected future PAVs.

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