Oshae Brissett 2021 Season Review

Pacers forward Oshae Brissett reflects on earning a roster spot with the Pacers after playing in the G League, earning the trust of his teammates, and improving his 3-point shot.

Brissett 2021 Player Review

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Oshae Brissett 2021 Season Review

Pacers forward Oshae Brissett reflects on earning a roster spot with the Pacers after playing in the G League, earning the trust of his teammates, and improving his 3-point shot.
Jun 12, 2021  |  03:18

Oshae Brissett 2020-21 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Oshae Brissett's 2020-21 season.
Jun 12, 2021  |  01:00

2021 Exit Interview: Oshae Brissett

May 23, 2021 - Oshae Brissett reflects on earning a roster spot and ultimately a pivotal role with the Pacers, and his personal and team goals for the offseason.
May 23, 2021  |  02:50

Player Review 2021: Oshae Brissett

by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Age: 22
Years Pro: 2
Status: Has non-guaranteed contract for next two seasons.
Key Stats: Appeared in 21 games and started 16 after joining team on April 1. Averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from 3-point range.

Oshae Brissett was out of the NBA for the majority of the 2020-21 season, but the late-season addition still managed to make a significant impact in his limited time with the Pacers.

The 6-7 forward spent his rookie season in 2019-20 on a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors and attended training camp with the Raptors last season, but was waived just before the start of the regular season.

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants selected Brissett with their first pick in the G League Draft on Jan. 11 (the second pick of the second round). Because of COVID-19, the G League had a condensed season played exclusively over a month-long window in a bubble environment in Florida. Brissett, however, managed to make the most of his abbreviated opportunity, averaging 18.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists over 12 games with the Mad Ants and was named to the All-NBA G League Second Team.

PHOTO GALLERY: Oshae Brissett's 2020-21 Season in Photos »

When the Mad Ants' season ended on March 5, head coach Tom Hankins predicted that Brissett's strong play would earn him an NBA roster spot. Sure enough, the Pacers soon got in contact with Brissett's agent and agreed to a trial run. After quarantining in Indianapolis, Brissett signed his first 10-day contract on April 1.

Initially, Brissett was not expected to play a big role with the Blue & Gold. He appeared in just three of his first seven games with the Pacers, seeing the floor for a combined six minutes over those contests.

But as injuries continued to plague Indiana's frontcourt, Brissett eventually got an extended opportunity and he took full advantage of it. He scored 10 points in as many minutes in a win in Houston on April 14, then played nine minutes against Utah on April 16. He did not play two nights later in Atlanta, but with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis both out the next night against San Antonio, Brissett was given his first career start.

The former Syracuse standout played 25 minutes against the Spurs and tallied 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting (3-of-5 from 3-point range), six rebounds, and a steal. The Pacers' frontcourt was even more depleted that night, as Goga Bitadze sprained his ankle and JaKarr Sampson was ejected following an altercation with Patty Mills, an incident that earned a one-game suspension from the league.

On April 21, the Pacers signed Brissett to a multi-year contract (his salary was only guaranteed for the remainder of the 2020-21 season) and started him at center. Despite being severely undersized, Brissett rose to the occasion, playing 42 minutes and setting career highs in nearly every category, including points (23), rebounds (12), blocks (3), and steals (2).

Oshae Brissett

Photo Credit: Matt Kryger

Brissett slid back over to power forward for the next game against Detroit, but remained in the starting lineup, collecting another double-double with 11 points and 11 boards in a win over the Pistons. As Turner remained out for the remainder of the season, Brissett started every game through the end of the year.

His size and ability to defend larger players gave the Pacers an element they had lacked ever since T.J. Warren suffered a season-ending foot injury four games into the season. For the majority of the year, Indiana deployed either Sabonis (a center) or undersized wings like Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, and Jeremy Lamb at power forward. Brissett proved to be the best fit for that position, between his physical attributes and also his grasp of Indiana's system, picked up playing in Toronto while Nate Bjorkgren was an assistant and with the Mad Ants, who ran Bjorkgren's system in the G League bubble.

Brissett proved to be a capable scorer and rebounder from the four spot, reaching double figures 13 times in the regular season and posting five double-doubles. He scored a career-high 31 points and pulled down 10 rebounds against his former team in a win over the Raptors on the final day of the regular season. He also performed well in the Play-In Tournament, scoring a team-high 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting in the win over Charlotte on May 18.

"I just wanted to come in here and be myself and just help the guys win some games," Brissett told the media during exit interviews. "From where I was before, it was tough staying mentally locked in on the main goal of getting back (to the NBA). Going through all that, there was a whole bunch of waiting and not really knowing how the season was going to go. But I'm just really proud of myself for sticking with it."

The most pleasant surprise in Brissett's game was his outside shooting. He shot just 30.7 percent from 3-point range over two seasons at Syracuse and went just 3-for-15 from beyond the arc as a rookie in Toronto. But he found his stroke during his time in Indiana.

Brissett went 33-for-78 from 3-point range with the Pacers, converting 42.3 percent of his attempts from long distance, the best 3-point percentage on the team. He hit multiple threes in his first eight starts and went 5-for-8 from beyond the arc both on May 13 against Milwaukee and in the aforementioned 31-point performance against Toronto.

Though it is a somewhat limited sample size, if Brissett can come close to keeping that consistency with his 3-point shot moving forward, his chances of sticking on an NBA roster will increase exponentially.

Brissett, for his part, seems focused heading into the offseason. He listed off a laundry list of goals for this offseason during exit interviews, including putting on weight to help with guarding bigger players, improving his foot speed, continuing to focus on his 3-point shot, and working on attacking the basket. He also said that he already had plans to meet up with several teammates during the summer to work out together.

"I don't ever want to have that feeling of getting cut ever again," Brissett said. "So that stays in my mind almost every day, every time I step on the court. I'm going to work hard, I'm going to get better, and continue to prove a lot of people wrong and make a name for myself."

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