Bruce Brown has held his own in the NBA in his first two years. Registering 6.3 points a game, along with a couple of boards and assists through his career so far, the 23-year-old guard has been slowly improving as a player that can do almost a bit of everything for Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons. This season, Brown was forced into a bigger role for Detroit with the injury bug hitting the team hard this season especially at the point guard position. He started 44 of the 66 games this season while running the team’s offense. With Brown at the helm, Coach Casey had confidence in him that he could handle the sudden change after having him run some sets in the summer league as the lead guard.
“He’s a smart player, he handles the ball well and passes well. He has those instincts, that’s one reason we had him in Summer League, not knowing this year would be the year we would need him because we have three point guards, but that was a good experience and foresight for our group to have him play in Summer League to get that experience.”
Casey continued by furthering his belief in Brown’s point guard abilities,
“He’s such an instinctual player and knows the game; he’s smart and knows the other teams and all our sets and he has the ability to transfer that to point guard.”
Brown has shown some bright spots in his playmaking this year averaging four assists in 28 minutes per game. Scoring wise, Brown scored double figures in 23 of the 58 games he has played, also improving his three-point percentage from almost 26% to 34.4%, all while shooting 44% from the field this past season. He has also shown he can be a reliable corner 3pt shooter, shooting 41.6%. Brown’s improvements from the season saw a rise in approval from him from many Piston fans, but there are still times where it is easy to get frustrated with Brown for being unable to complete actions that a guard is supposed to be capable of making.
After Brown gets by his defender off the dribble or from a pick and roll, he gets to that 10-15 foot area and there aren’t many options for him because he can’t pull up and he’ll occasionally shoot a short floater. He ultimately dribbles it out and reverses it or if someone is open, kicks it out. His options are very limited because of his undeveloped pull-up jumper. If he works on his pull up game and can get close to consistent, it could leave trouble for opposing teams. Now, this is not something that happens overnight and also not asking him to pull up from behind the long line as well, that will take time. But this 10-15 foot area forces opposing players on the wing to play more help if their teammate gets beat, and big men to step up. This will create more opportunities for some dump down passes, passes out to shooters for open looks, and give Brown the option to make a quick move and keep attacking the basket if it’s there and possibly draw a foul.
Brown can draw the respect of defenders if he can hit this type of shot around 35%(maybe). A great example of someone who does this very well is Derrick Rose. Brown isn’t as elusive as Rose, but in the Pistons’ offense, they often find themselves in the same position. Rose can keep defenders on their toes with his dangerous mid-range jumper and great finishing ability. Brown should take this piece of Rose’s game and build on it. Another player with recent success in this type of game was Shaun Livingston. When watching those recent finals, it seemed like Livingston couldn’t miss. Granted some of these shots were turn around jumpers on small guards, but he lived from that 10-15 foot range, taking 44.5% of his shots from there with Golden State. His role worked so well with the Warriors and all their three-point threats, and Brown can contribute similarly to the Pistons. With the departure of Andre Drummond and the insertion of Christian Wood at the center position and Thon Maker being capable of hitting from long range, it gives the Pistons the spacing and threats they need on the outside for Brown to thrive in this type of game.
The Pistons have a future that can potentially be very bright with a young core, good draft position, and some money for free agency this summer. The road to a rebuilt playoff and title-contending team is a very far reach as of now. For the foreseeable future, Bruce Brown is gonna be part of this rebuild here. He has the chance to become a valuable player for this franchise. Giving his offense some diversity by scoring from close to 15 feet out with some consistency, can shorten this reach for that team Detroit desperately wants.
Featured Image: Mark Rourke/Associated Press