The Pistons entered the draft with 2018 NBA Draft with one pick, and came out of it with two guards, Khyri Thomas (38th overall) who was acquired in a trade with the 76ers, and Bruce Brown Jr. (42nd overall). Many media members were impressed with Detroit’s ability to nab two possible first-round talents with their second round picks.
Pretty slick work there by the Pistons, getting a couple of solid guard prospects midway through the second round in Khryi Thomas (trade with Philly for two future seconds) and Bruce Brown (taken 42nd overall by Detroit).— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 22, 2018
I like what the Pistons did bolstering their backcourt depth with Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown. No. 31 and No. 34 on my board. Thomas has a first round grade for me despite that ranking. Brown just missed.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) June 22, 2018
But the question remained, why so many guards?
I’d be willing to bet the Pistons will have the most guards on their opening day roster than any other team in the league. Entering training camp, Detroit has eight guards (EIGHT!) that should expect to see some time on the floor this season. Some of these players will have guaranteed minutes on a nightly basis, specifically, Reggie Jackson (we’ll get into him later), Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard.
It’s how Detroit manages the other four guards minutes that will be most intriguing. Who gets playing time, and who’s the odd man out? One player, that I’m STOKED about, and who could crack the rotation is the rookie, Bruce Brown. Brown is coming off a stellar Summer League performance, and showing some exciting flashes during the off-season showcase.
Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why YOU should be as excited as I am about the rookie.
Bruce Brown Jr. is my new favorite Piston btw. https://t.co/uqyXSAbZLH— David Fernandez (@THE_FERNANTULA) July 7, 2018
The more playmakers the better
We’ve covered this before, Detroit needs playmakers. The Pistons have been one of the most anemic offensive teams in the NBA for as long as I can remember. And while the addition of Blake Griffin, and increased role for Luke Kennard, should address some of these needs - the more playmakers the merrier.
During Summer League, Brown showed an ability to push the floor, finish in the paint and find guys in transition for easy buckets. Check. Check. Check.
Below you’ll see some clips from the summer that showcase his ability to make things happen.
When he had the ball in his hands, easy buckets followed. Detroit needs easy buckets. And while he probably won’t crack the line-up early in the season, I’m hopeful Dwane Casey will be able to get creative with some second unit line-ups at some point, and let Brown do what he does best, make things happen.
A point guard in the making?
Brown is listed as a shooting guard, but played a lot his sophomore season with the Miami Hurricanes as a point guard. That was mostly out of necessity, but he was able to handle that responsibility well, having averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds (this is insane) and 4 assists per game in that role. He also looked best with Detroit when he had the ball in his hands. He’s a capable ball handler, has a knack for playing in the pick and roll, and is a bully when he gets into the paint.
The Pistons, like the Hurricanes, may find themselves needing extra point guard help this season, as it was revealed this week that Reggie Jackson may not be ready to play when the 2018-19 season tips off.
The Pistons did sign veteran point guard, Jose Calderon, as point guard insurance this off-season. And while Calderon is a far better three point shooter than Brown, he’s not nearly the athlete or defender that he is. I’d still expect Calderon to be the primary back-up point guard should Jackson not be ready, but Brown could be a possible point guard option in the future.
Detroit can be patient
With all of that being said, Detroit is in no rush to put Brown on the floor if they don’t have to. Having all of those guards on the roster will allow for him to develop the less than NBA ready areas of his game- particularly his jump shot.
Perhaps Detroit’s best option is to have Brown spend some time down in Grand Rapids, round out his game, and figure out how best they’ll be able to utilize his skills, when he’s ready to see some time in the big leagues.
Detroit Bad Boys nation - why are you excited about Bruce Brown Jr.?