Bruce Brown knows a little something about getting after it on the defensive end. So what does it take for somebody else to make a big impression on him?
Jevon Carter did so while the two found themselves connecting in the run-up to the 2018 NBA Draft.
“We had a few draft workouts together and he was picking me up 94 feet in the draft workouts, which was nuts,” said Brown. “But a great defender. Good dude off the court. I know him pretty well.”
They’re reconnected now after the Nets acquired Carter and the draft rights to No. 29 pick Day’Ron Sharpe in a trade with the Phoenix Suns.
“I was pretty excited for opportunity, you know,” said Carter. “How can you not, play with the Brooklyn Nets? And it was just like a way for me to start a new chapter, you know? Really, really get after it like I want to. Hopefully, it is a good fit for me and we’ll see how it goes.”
Like Brown, Carter — a 6-foot-1, 200-pound guard — has built his profile around a commitment to the defensive end.
“Defense is very personal,” said Carter. “I just felt like that's just a must. You’re gonna have games where you’re scoring and not scoring. But every night you shouldn't have a game where you’re just bad defensively; like, that should just never happen. I just feel like that's just a must. And that's just who I am.”
Over four years in college at West Virginia, Carter built an impeccable defensive resume with four selections to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honor in 2017 and 2018. He was also a two-time NABC Defensive Player of the Year and Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.
“You’ve got to have the ability,” said Carter. “You’ve gotta have what you need to stop the guy in front of you. And then beyond that, it’s just heart. You know what I’m saying? Just heart and effort. Just having that feel, that grit of just wanting to stop somebody every time. You’re not gonna do it every time, but the more you’ve got the feeling that you’re gonna stop ‘em, you wanna stop ‘em, you’re doing everything you can to stop ‘em, I just feel like you’re probably gonna come out on top more times than not.”
Drafted 32nd overall by Memphis in 2018, Carter spent one season with the Grizzlies and the last two with the Suns. Over three seasons, he’s shot 38.1 percent from 3-point range on 2.5 attempts per game.
He was with the Suns as they grew into a championship contender with a run to the NBA Finals last month before falling short against the Milwaukee Bucks, and now he joins a team with the highest aspirations.
“Everything counts — the little stuff throughout the year, the extra work you got to put in, and then just everybody being on the same page and really being a unit,” said Carter. “And it's like, if one person falls short, then that can collapse the whole deal. So it's like, we really just all got to be on the same page in order to get what we want.”