Brian Bowen II 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Brian Bowen's 2019-20 season.

Brian Bowen II 2020 Player Review

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Brian Bowen II 2019-20 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Brian Bowen's 2019-20 season.
Sep 16, 2020  |  01:00

Player Review 2020: Brian Bowen II

by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Age: 21
Years Pro: 1
Status: Coming off first season on two-way contract.
Key Stats: Averaged 16.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists over 29 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Also appeared in six games for the Pacers, including one start.

The Pacers used their two two-way roster slots this season in different ways.

One spot went to Naz Mitrou-Long, a 26-year-old guard with five years of college and two years of NBA experience capable of filling in at point guard in an emergency situation.

The other spot went to Brian Bowen II, a 21-year-old wing with intriguing potential but needing some time to develop before being ready to contribute at the NBA level.

In many ways, Bowen was the more conventional selection for a two-way player, though his path to the Pacers was anything but conventional.

A McDonald's All-American in 2017 out of La Lumiere Academy in LaPorte, Ind., Bowen originally committed to and enrolled at Louisville before being caught up in a recruiting controversy that resulted in him losing his eligibility. He transferred to South Carolina for the spring semester and hoped to eventually play for the Gamecocks, but turned pro when it became clear that he would have to wait longer than he hoped before regaining his eligibility.

Bowen declared for the NBA Draft in 2018 but backed out at the deadline, opting instead to spend a season overseas in Australia, where he played in 28 games for the Sydney Kings of the NBL. He then entered the 2019 Draft but did not get selected, opting to sign a two-way contract with Indiana days after the draft.

PHOTO GALLERY: Brian Bowen II's 2019-20 Season in Photos »

Bowen has all the makings of an NBA player. He is a former five-star recruit with good length and athleticism, but he simply hasn't logged as many minutes as his peers over the past two seasons. So for the Pacers, this season was all about getting him experience.

Bowen logged 983 minutes in the G League last season in just 29 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He averaged 16.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in those contests while shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from 3-point range.

Those percentages could improve with better shot selection, as Bowen attempted over 12 field goals and over four 3-pointers per game. Indeed, his .872 free throw percentage suggests he has the shooting stroke to develop into a potentially lethal outside threat.

Bowen's rebounding numbers are also strong for a 6-6 wing. He had multiple double-doubles in the G League and ranked second on the Mad Ants in rebounding among players who participated in 20 or more games.

Brian Bowen II with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Bowen also spent a good amount of time with the Pacers, often by design and occasionally out of necessity due to the onslaught of injuries that plagued Indiana's roster.

But while Bowen was often on standby, he saw the floor in just six NBA games as a rookie, logging a total of 31 minutes. Two games, in particular, stand out.

Injuries allowed Bowen to be active on Nov. 12, and with the Pacers pummeling the Thunder, head coach Nate McMillan subbed Bowen in for the final 2:35 of a 111-85 win. It was Bowen's NBA debut and his teammates worked hard to get him his first points.

He missed a 14-footer with 1:48 to play, but broke through a minute later, when he banked in a 7-foot pull-up, sending the bench into hysterics.

"It means a lot," Bowen said at the time. "It's a real emotional moment for me. I've been though a lot just to get to this point. It's a dream come true for me."

Months later, McMillan called Bowen's number once again. With T.J. Warren and Doug McDermott both out due to injury for the March 6 game at Chicago, McMillan elected to start Bowen so he could keep Justin Holiday and Edmond Sumner with the second unit.

Bowen logged a career-high 15 minutes that night. He didn't score on four shot attempts, but did collect four rebounds while helping Indiana to a 108-102 victory. Bowen played the role that was asked of him in the starting lineup, worked hard on the defensive end, and the Pacers finished the night +3 when he was on the court.

Bowen hopes to add more chapters to his brief NBA career next season. At 21, he still has plenty of room for growth.

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