Zach Lowe is mystified by the Bruce Brown phenomenon. What position does he play? Is a new position outside the traditional 1 through 5? And why did the Pistons let him go?!? For Dzanan Musa and a “useless” second round pick?!
In his “10 things” column Friday morning and a podcast with Bill Simmons Thursday night, Lowe raved about the Nets guard, um, wingman, um, center? Or something else! Speaking of the “Big Three”-dominated Nets, Lowe wrote...
They are creating entirely new player archetypes. Like ... what position does Bruce Brown play now?
He’s nominally a guard, but he doesn’t handle the ball or shoot many 3s. He lurks near the basket and sets ball screens, but you can’t call him a “center” when DeAndre Jordan is on the floor. He’s functionally a center — I guess? — in small-ball lineups featuring Jeff Green and Durant as the tallest Nets.
He might be inventing a new position. Rover? Center fielder on offense? Brown just kind of skulks around searching for dead spots as all five defenders focus on Irving, Harden, and Durant — and very much not on Brown.
On the Simmons podcast, Lowe described Brown’s game as “Look at me! Look at me!” In his column, he laid out the weirdness of Brown’s game.
A whopping 56% of Brown’s shots have come at the rim. That’s good for some seven-footers, preposterous for whatever Brown is now. His stout, multi-positional defense is a valuable part of Brooklyn’s super-small lineups. A few more corner 3s would be nice. Brown hit 42% from the corners last season with the Detroit Pistons, but he hadn’t been taking many before draining two down the stretch against Sacramento.
Lowe also wrote, “I couldn’t believe the Pistons traded Brown for almost nothing, and it makes even less sense now.”
On the Simmons podcast, he amplified his bewilderment about how the Nets got Brown as part of a three-team Draft Night deal, one that started with Brown being sent to Brooklyn in return for Dzanan Musa, the Raptors second round pick this year and the Draft rights to Nets stash Jaylen Hands. His voice rising, Lowe essentially went on a rant.
“I never understood what Detroit was doing in that trade other than are they so afraid of what Bruce Brown’s contract is going to be that ‘we just gotta get off Bruce Brown for Musa —I dont even know where Musa is anymore (it’s Turkey, Zach) — and a Raptors second round pick that’s useless!’ Bruce Brown is good!
“You drafted him in the second round. It was the previous front office so you don’t have sort of the same investment in him. But you drafted him. He played well for you. He’s a good Detroit success story. Isn’t he the ethos of what you want the Pistons to be and what you envision the Pistons to stand for? And you just dump him?! The Nets must have been like, ‘what ... for what now??’”
Simmons agreed and added that other teams should have countered the Nets offer. “Where are the 10 other teams with the better offer” for the then-second year player? Simmons also said that Brown is likely to be that “playoff guy ... the seventh, eighth or ninth man” who will “die on the court for you.”
How much might Brown make? According to Hoopshype capologist Yossi Gozlan, the max Brown could get next year would be $12 million.
Of course, everyone admits —sort of— that Brown’s value is dependent on opponents defensive focus on the “Big Three” (and Joe Harris) but the 24-year-old has a 6’9” wingspan, good hands and an understanding where the basket is at all times. In other words, an opportunist. Maybe that’s the name for Brown’s new position, Zach: opportunist!