The player that the Wisconsin Badgers can thank most for guiding them to two consecutive Sweet 16 appearances over the last two seasons is, without a doubt, Bronson Koenig.
Koenig led the Badgers in threes and overall scoring last season. His 39.3 percent conversion rate from beyond the arc and 14.5 points per game will be greatly missed by Wisconsin.
Throughout Koenig’s four exciting years with Wisconsin, he was able to improve major facets of his game each season. The guard increased his scoring numbers progressively during each season and was able to average double figures during both of his seasons as an upperclassman. Koenig also had his best season from three-point range and the free throw line during his senior year.
To say the least, Koenig was an impact player for the Badgers. Let’s take a look at his strengths, weaknesses, and his potential fit in the NBA.
Plain and simple, Bronson Koenig is a scorer. Specifically, Koenig is a player who can take over a game when he starts feeling it from three-point range.
Though the Wisconsin native has a pretty strong mid-range jumper as well, Koenig collected the majority of his scoring from three. In fact, Koenig knocked down at least four three-pointers in 13 games last season. He was also the only player in the Big Ten to hit at least 100 three-pointers last season. Notably, Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. was the only player in the conference to average more made threes per contest than Koenig during the 2016-’17 season.
Undoubtedly, the strongest element of Koenig’s game is his ability to convert from distance. However, this also ties into another major strength of Koenig’s game: his clutch performances in the “money time” of big games.
When the game is on the line, everyone knows the Badgers want the ball in Koenig’s hands. This is for good reason. Over his last two seasons on Wisconsin, Koenig knocked down 37-75 three-pointers (49.3 percent) in the final five minutes and overtime of each contest.
A good amount of these late-game conversions happened in extremely significant games as well. One can recall Koenig’s buzzer-beater three two seasons ago against Xavier to send Wisconsin to the Sweet 16. Koenig also nailed a go-ahead three against Minnesota with 44 seconds in overtime this season. The guard’s three to break the tie with 2:01 remaining in the Round of 32 this season against top-seeded Villanova was extremely clutch as well.
Though an NBA team most likely won’t draft a player only because he is clutch, the fact that Koenig has proven that he can knock down shots in crucial situations helps solidify his resume as a lethal outside shooter.
Besides outside shooting, there aren’t really any other specific parts of Koenig’s game that are eye-popping. Other than Koenig’s impressive free-throw shooting, (90.5 percent last season) he doesn’t really do anything that separates him from the competition at the NBA level.
As Wisconsin’s point guard, Koenig only averaged two assists per game last season. This goes along with an average of 1.4 turnovers per game, giving Koenig a less than impressive assist-to-turnover ratio. Koenig also had more turnovers than assists in 11 games last season.
Even though Koenig is a pure scorer, he doesn’t drive to the hoop often. As a result, Koenig doesn’t hit very many two-point shots or get to three free throw line often. Koenig averaged only 1.8 attempts from the free-throw line last season.
All of this shows that Koenig is essentially a one-trick pony (a three-point specialist). For Koenig to be attractive to NBA teams, a more balanced game would really help. Unfortunately, the guard doesn’t really have this.
-Potential Best Fit:
A team that lacks depth in knock-down outside shooters would be the most reasonable spot for Koenig to land. Since his assist numbers are far from impressive, a team wouldn’t be drafting Koenig to be a point guard. It would make the most sense to see Koenig be used off the bench as a threat from deep.
Realistically, Bronson Koenig will likely not be drafted. However, unless he chooses to end it, his professional career will not be over.
Koenig would, without a doubt, be a competitive player on an NBA Developmental League team. However, with slim chances at making an NBA roster in the future, it is in Koenig’s best interest to take his basketball career overseas.
With his scoring capabilities and good ball-handling, Koenig can be a very effective starter in a league somewhere overseas.