Mark Herrmann of Newsday profiles Tony Brown Monday, a man whose journeyman career as a player (nine teams) and assistant coach (seven teams) has had many stops, but his best moments, his greatest opportunities have been as a Net.
"Being drafted by the Nets was a highlight of my life," Brown tells Herrmann of his selection in the fourth-round back in 1982. "It took a while before I got here, but I had a great experience playing for the Nets. Obviously we weren’t very good at that time but it gave me a chance to get my feet wet as a player in the NBA."
Brown was waived in training camp but wound up back on the Nets in 1986-87, where he had his best year,, averaging 11.3 points a game for the 24-win Nets, playing with the late Darryl Dawkins, Mike Gminski and Albert King. Brown missed all of 1987-88 with an injury and was traded in 1988.
Now, he's back with the Nets as their interim coach, another opportunity with the team that drafted him.
"That was so long ago, I’ve got to dust off the cobwebs," he said on Saturday. "I got a good feel about how to be a starter, I had to be ‘on’ at the beginning of games. I wasn’t in anybody’s mind a great offensive player, but I took opportunities when they came to me."
There's no chance he gets the permanent job. His job is to win, of course, but it's mostly about development of younger players and evaluation of the roster. It can't hurt his career to have more than a half season to show what he can do.
"It is," he told Herrmann, "a blank canvas."