Just over two months ago on November 16, 2020, the Brooklyn Nets made a minor offseason trade. They acquired Bruce Brown from the Detroit Pistons, in exchange for Dzanan Musa and a 2021 second-round pick. Casual fans thought of this trade as a small move. However, hardcore Pistons fans knew the impact he could have in Brooklyn. Upon acquiring Brown, the Nets were looking at him as a defensive stopper. “Bruce, we’ve talked about adding some defensive players,” Nets GM Sean Marks said. “A toughness, a mindset, that’s what we’ll certainly be looking for in Bruce.”
The Nets did not expect him to have a big role on the team coming into training camp. The Nets had Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Landry Shamet ahead on the depth chart. As expected, Brown was not a part of the rotation and even picked up 4 DNP’s in the first seven games of the season.
Now, Brown plays a prominent role in Steve Nash‘s rotation, often being the first man off the bench. This is partially in part due to Irving missing games due to personal reasons, LeVert being traded, Dinwiddie’s season-ending ACL tear, and Shamet’s poor play.
Brown has brought the spark to the Nets bench that they were looking for when he was acquired. He can guard 1 to 3, and even some 4’s. A very explosive player, Brown could be a starter on other teams, as he did in his first two seasons in the NBA. Brown, known for his defensive prowess on the perimeter, is always guarding the opponent’s best offensive player. In addition to guarding 1’s to 4’s, Brown is a ball handler for the second unit, or he can play off the ball. He is proven to be able to run an offense, as he averaged 4 assists per game last season. Standing at only 6’4”, Brown is also a very good rebounder.
Brown has played a more prominent role for the Pistons the past two seasons than he will for the Nets. Last season, as he played 28 minutes per game, averaging 8.9 PTS, 4.7 REB, and 4.0 AST.
Brown had his best game of the season in the Nets 116-109 win over the Knicks earlier this week, adding 15 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 assists. His stats on the season are 5.5 PTS, 4.2 REB, and 1.2 AST while shooting 56.8% in only 16 minutes per game. These stats don’t show the full impact that Brown has on the team. Brown is the type of player where his full impact doesn’t necessarily show up in the box score.
Brown, 24, will have a spot in the NBA for many years to come if he continues his good play. A University of Miami alumni, Brown, was the 42nd pick of the 2018 Draft. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. He should be a priority of Sean Marks’ to resign.