It’s rare that a player sticks around an organization for so long without actually logging a single minute for them during the NBA regular season. Lorenzo Brown has played for three different teams in as many seasons since being drafted 52nd overall in the 2013 Draft, but none of them have been the Pistons. So how is it that the North Carolina State product is a well known commodity to Pistons fans?
Brown first appeared on Detroit's roster in 2014, signing a training camp contract that saw him play a couple pre-season games with the team before being waived prior to the start of the season. From there, the 6’5 point guard played two years with the Pistons' D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, where he became one of the team's bright spots.
Zo would turn the head of more than one NBA executive, his solid play would see him earn a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2014-15, and then a couple 10-day pacts with the Phoenix Suns and eventually a multi-year, non-guaranteed deal with Detroit in 2015-16.
All in all, Brown has appeared in 63 D-League games (43 with the Drive), in which he averaged 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.8 steals to go along with a shooting line of .489/.366/.844. In the NBA, the Georgia-native has also seen time in 63 games, putting up 3.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.7 steals, shooting .369/.152/.667 in the process.
While his numbers don't pop off the page, the small sample size (834 minutes) along with his performances in the D-League and Summer League could have — and apparently have — given him an edge over his immediate competition, Ray McCallum.
At the end of the day, Brown is fighting for the team's third-string point guard position and 15th roster spot. Although it may not sound like an important role, he is only one injury on the depth chart or trade away from logging some serious time, and in the Van Gundy Era, third-string point guards have a knack of shaking up the depth chart.
In 2015, the team's rookie third-stringer Spencer Dinwiddie started a game after the players ahead of him were injured (Brandon Jennings) or traded (D.J. Augustin). Dinwiddie would then share second fiddle with John Lucas III. Last season saw Steve Blake eventually outplay Spencer to become Reggie Jackson's backup. The question then becomes: can he handle non-garbage time minutes?
His track record would suggest he is a serviceable floor general, one more focused on scoring than distributing, but that could be exactly what the team needs considering Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith's reputation as streaky shooters and pass-first guards. He has shown the ability to distribute, shoot at a high percentage from the field and has the tools to be a solid defender.
Brown has all the tools at his disposal to become a solid backup point guard in the League, it just remains to be seen if he can carve himself a role with the Pistons.
37 games - 10 MPG / 4.7 PPG / 1.8 RPG / 2.1 APG / 0.6 SPG - .412/.345/.771