2018-2019 POP Season Preview: Bruce Brown Must be Ready for that Chance
The Detroit Pistons made it a priority to add depth on the wing this offseason. In the draft, they added two players who can play both spots on the wing, and have intriguing potential on both sides of the ball. Detroit traded for the 38th pick, in which they selected Khyri Thomas and then used their own second-round pick to snag Bruce Brown at 42. Today, I’ll be focusing on Brown and what his rookie season could look like with the Pistons.
Brown comes out of Miami(FL) where he played two seasons under Jim Larranaga. After a promising freshman campaign, Brown decided to remain at Miami. In his sophomore campaign with the Canes, he suffered a left foot injury that required surgery and placed him on the sidelines for a large chunk of the season. He appeared in just 19 games, where he averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and four assists per game. While his play was not poor, Brown’s draft stock plummeted from lottery-level potential to falling where he did in July. The injury, along with a disastrous 26.7 percent shooting line from 3-point range, attributed to his drastic drop.
However, the 22-year-old’s drop was considered to be somewhat shocking, and Detroit’s coup of him and Khyri Thomas in the second round is nothing short of stellar. Brown can play and was regarded as lottery talent for a reason before his sophomore season slump. There are plenty of reasons to believe in Brown, and he displayed why in the Las Vegas Summer League Tournament.
In this first clip, Brown shows off just about everything you could possibly hope for as a Piston fan. First, with the game clock winding down, Brown exhibits a level of calmness necessary in the NBA. His handle is clean and poised. He then rises and knocks down the 3-pointer. In Summer League, stats can sometimes be empty and worthless, but plays, plays matter. Here, Brown displays a level of NBA readiness that is promising.
Next, Brown again appears comfortable handling the basketball and initiating the offense. He quickly works into a pick-and-roll with Henry Ellenson. After Ellenson slips away towards the top of the key, Brown slithers to the basket and finishes through a dose of contact from Keita Bates-Diop, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ second-round pick. Being able to complete plays such as this one against NBA talent is promising, and Brown does just that.
While Brown demonstrated enticing potenital on offense, he dominated on the defensive side of the floor. Brown has a knack for turning defense into offense, either for himself or his teammates. In the clip below, he does just that.
After a good contest, Brown runs the floor, finds an opening in the corner, and nails the 3-pointer when the pass comes from Speedy Smith.
Both rookies on Detroit compete defensively, with hellacious ball-hawking abilities that can suffocate the life out of opposing offenses.
In Summer League, Brown averaged 11.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, and three assists per game. He was one of the best players in the tournament before a couple of woeful performances to end Summer league.
While Brown may be NBA ready, minutes will be tough to come by in his rookie season. That emphasis Detroit placed on adding wing depth netted Glenn Robinson III, who could see time at shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. He’ll have to find a way to stand out amongst a slew of NBA mainstays, a daunting task.
It seems plausible that Brown spends time in the G League this season, just because Detroit as of now as no minutes for him. As unfortunate as that is, getting him game reps are important, and he can be a primary feature with the Grand Rapids Drive.
Brown will get a chance at some point this season. And when he does, he’ll show why he was once considered a top NBA prospect.
Featured Image: David Dow/Getty Images