Brown ready to up the ante to fulfill Casey’s wish for a competitive Detroit Pistons camp
Sam Forencich (NBAE/Getty)
If Dwane Casey’s aim is to foster a competitive atmosphere for Pistons team camp, Bruce Brown is here to oblige.
Given his tenure – Brown’s entering his third season, making him one of the veterans of the 15-player group assembled at the Pistons Performance Center – and status as a returning starter, Brown is in his comfort zone as a team leader.
“One hundred percent,” he said when asked if he was taking it upon himself to raise the competitive level for Phase 2 of team camp after Phase 1 wraps up over the weekend. “There’s going to be a lot of smack talk so people better be ready.”
Brown might have a half-step head start on teammates starved for five-on-five play, which will run through Oct. 6. When not in Detroit getting in individual work with Pistons coaches, he’s been back in his native Boston and found a gym in nearby Sudbury where he’s gotten in full-court action.
In the pre-COVID-19 world, the Pistons would be going through voluntary workouts as a group now and training camp would be around the corner. That thought struck Brown on Thursday as he was watching the Celtics and Heat playing in the Eastern Conference finals.
“I have memories from two years ago, rookie year and last year, we were in the gym working out,” he said. “I definitely can’t wait to get back on the floor playing games. Watching Miami and Boston play last night, I was ready to play. So I can’t wait until they let us know when the season’s going to start, when training camp’s going to start.”
Brown outperformed his draft slot as the 42nd pick to cement a spot in Casey’s rotation as a rookie despite modest offensive contributions. He became a proficient corner 3-point shooter in his second season – enough to elevate his overall 3-point accuracy from .258 to .344 season over season – and this summer has focused on extending his range.
“Above the break mostly this off-season and continue to work on the corner,” said Brown, who toggled between point guard when injuries struck last season and wing, with Casey determining midway through last season that it would benefit Brown to be relieved of the onus of running the point. “I’m just a basketball player,” he said. “Put me on the floor and I’ll make plays. I don’t care where I’m at. I can play the four or the five. I don’t really mind. As long as I’m on the floor, I can help this team win.”
In the spirit of trying to make the best of unusual circumstances, Brown said a recent vacation helped put things in perspective for him.
“I think it was good for me, honestly, to get away from the game for a little bit. I actually went up to New Hampshire for like two weeks and just cleared my head – went up on Lake Winnipesaukee. Getting away from it a little bit was great for me.”
Clearing his head with a two-week lake retreat and then whetting his appetite for an intense week of competition by watching the NBA conference finals. Teammates, be forewarned.
“I’m looking forward,” Brown said, “to coming back.”