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Taylor Braun's Future

by Dan Gunderson

It would appear the NBA aspirations of former North Dakota State University guard Taylor Braun may have received a negative jolt during his time in the NBA Summer League.

As a member of the Phoenix Suns Summer League team, Braun saw game action in three of the team's five games, averaging 9.6 minutes, 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.

A majority of those stats came in the team's last game against Dallas, where Braun played 22 minutes, had six rebounds and 10 points.

Even Ben Woodside, the other NDSU player to appear in the NBA Summer League, made some noise by averaging 5.3 points in four games played in 2010. He even had an 11 point game but he did actually get to play.

With lack of exposure, it would stand to reason that Braun will not get picked up by a NBA team. What does the former Summit League Player of the Year do now?

There a couple options. First, he could try and join a NBA D-League team. While the D-League has the NBA name in front of it, it hardly means that everybody in the league is NBA ready. Former NDSU players Mike Nelson and Michael Tveidt both played in the NBA D-League.

Their are two advantages of playing in the D-League. The first is you are playing for a team that has an affiliation with an NBA team. A player gets hurt for a NBA team, they need a guy to fill in for a period of time on their bench.

Instead of finding some Skip 2 My Lou off the street, they have a D-League roster full of guys who would kill for a 10-day contract in the NBA and a chance to stick with the ball club.

The second is you are playing in the United States, where it is much easier for NBA GMs and player personnel guys to sit down and watch a full game or plan a trip to catch a game.

What if their prized draft pick is spending time in the D-League to develop his skills and these guys want to see him play? They go to the game and the only thing they notice is your play. Next thing you know, you are on their radar to come up to the NBA team.

Reality is both of those situations have a slim chance of happening. How long does Braun want to toil in the NBA D-League making somewhere between $12,000 and $24,000? Probably not that long.

The second option is going to play in Europe. The Bison have trio of former players overseas right now in Andre Smith (Turkey), Ben Woodside (Turkey) and TrayVonn Wright (Austria).

Europe may not be the best answer for you to get noticed by the NBA, but it is less strenuous financially. Depending on what league you play in, you could make anywhere between $65,000 to $100,000 to start out.

Braun's workout partner this past summer was Woodside, a perfect player to ask about what it takes to make it in pro ball. While there is a limit to how many U.S. born players some overseas leagues can have per team, Braun may have a better shot at establishing a career there than in the D-League.

I think the biggest thing Braun will have to figure out when making his decision is how much longer does he want to spend away from home? You have to remember, Braun is not from remotely close to Fargo. He is from Oregon and has been away from family and friends for five years now.

At some point, Braun may decide he wants to take a shot and tryout with a D-League team closer to his home state.

There is no guarantee that Braun makes either league. I would assume he will get looks from both but past that, I'm not sure. I hope he does continue his career in basketball at some professional level.

It would be hard to imagine a team out there not wanting a 6'7" wing player with the ability to fill up nearly every statistical category in a box score.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly sports talk show on 740 The Fan and 740thefan.com called Fan Sports Saturday from 8-10 a.m. Pinto is a radio producer and talk show host within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.