Bruce Brown has been a Brooklyn Net for two weeks, and as of Monday, for two team practices. But when asked after Monday’s practice his impression of his new squad, he gave it away before he said a word, with a slow-developing smile and a shake of the head.
“We’re going to be really good,” said Brown, getting right to it. “Everybody can do everything. Scoring-wise, everybody can score. Everybody can play defense. The sky is the limit for us, man. We’re going to go out there and play, do what we’ve got to do, but this is definitely the best team I’ve probably ever been on.”
The third-year guard was acquired via a three-team, draft week trade that also brought Landry Shamet to Brooklyn. Drafted in the second round in 2018, he spent his first two seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
Brown was selected 42nd overall, just two spots after the Nets drafted Rodions Kurucs. He said he connected with Kurucs on draft night two years ago, and the two found themselves in the same group of players during the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program later that summer. As the Nets have gotten rolling with workouts, Brown has found himself in the same work group as Kurucs at practice as well.
With a roster full of scoring options, Brown can bring a defensive edge to Brooklyn’s guard rotation.
“I think he's a defensive player at this point,” said head coach Steve Nash on Monday. “You know the offensive game is something he's still developing. So we have to be patient with him as he continues to work on his playmaking and shooting. But he competes, is a good defender, and he can grow in offensively as well. So he's got an opportunity to continue to get better on both sides of the ball, make an impact.
“But we have to be patient with him. He’s a player that is coming into a team with a lot of talent. For him to find a role I think it really comes down to his continued development, because there's so many talented players out there and such a deep roster that he's going to have to use that competition and that depth as a way to really put pressure on himself to develop. And then we'll see, because he’s clearly a good defensive player. He's got to develop into a shooter and a playmaker to go along with it a compliment that. But his effort’s been outstanding and I have high hopes for him.”
While he’s focused on improving the offensive aspects of his game, Brown knows the path to playing time is paved with defense. That’s what earned him a role in Detroit right from the start, and as a player who started 99 of his 132 games with the Pistons, Brown could be part of a Brooklyn second unit made up entirely of players who were regular starters last season.
“There’s definitely going to be nights that (Kevin Durant), Kyrie and all of the guys need a rest,” said Brown. “So guys like me, whoever else comes off the bench can be ready and play. I’ve started the whole time I’ve been in the NBA, so I have experience out there. I’ve played in playoff series, so I know what to expect and I’m going to be ready for it.”