Bruce Brown has quickly become a Brooklyn Nets fan favorite. Nets twitter has been praising him ever since the season started, and rightly so.
Brown has shown to be a hard noes defender, and that is precisely what the team needs.
After trading for James Harden, it is evident that the Nets will most likely have the best offense in the league and could even have the best offense in NBA History. Harden joins Kevin Durant, who has four scoring titles, and Kyrie Irving, who is averaging 27 points this season.
However, the Nets had to trade away Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Taurean Prince, all solid defenders, to get Harden, who is known to not give 100% while on defense. The Nets roster right now is built to put up points but is not strong defensively. This is why keeping Brown out of that trade was very important.
Brown is built to be a strong wing defender weighing in around 202 pounds, giving him the ability to physically take anything the offense throws at him, such as screens.
On top of that, he is 6’4″ tall with 6’9″ wingspan. His height and length allow him to get in passing lanes and even block shots.
Brown is a physical defender who can stay in front of guards and wings and literally can follow players up and down the court. Head Coach Steve Nash has used Brown as a full-court presser to slow down opposing guards from getting up the court quickly. Nash used Brown in this way against Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets. This slowed down the Nuggets offense and made Murray have to work to make it up halfcourt. Brown also finished that game with three blocks.
His teammates have praised Brown’s gritty and pestering defense. Veteran Center DeAndre Jordan told the media when asked about Brown, “Bruce is a dog. He’s a pest. I’m glad he’s with us.”
Brown has only played an average of 16 minutes a game and has started for the Nets only five times, and the Nets are 4-1 in those games. Brown is still working on his offensive game, which has been what has been holding him back from more playing time. He is averaging 5.7 points on 4.5 shots and shooting 17% from beyond the arc. However, his average of 4.4 rebounds a game is the thing that is important because it shows his intensity and effort.
The truth is the Nets don’t need him to be a great offensive player.
They have three players who all can average 25 points a game easily. They need Brown to step on the court, give 110%, and guard the opposing team’s best guard or wing, which is what Brown has done. Two of the games that Brown has started against have been against the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz. Brown spent most of his time on the court guarding Jamal Murray for 21 possessions and Donovan Mitchell for 15 possessions.
When Kyrie Irving rejoins the team, Brown should be starting the lineup over Joe Harris to make a more balanced lineup. He takes Harden and Irving’s pressure off on the defensive end by guarding the opposing team’s best guard, freeing them up to play more open on the offensive end.
Brown could be used the same way that the Oklahoma City Thunder used Andre Roberson when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were there.
Roberson took all the tuff defensive assignments freeing up Durant and Westbrook on offense.
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