The Brooklyn Nets have only played Bruce Brown for three minutes and 45 seconds in the first two regular-season games and people are wanting answers. After stealing him from Detroit in exchange for Dzanan Musa, Brown went from benchwarmer to playoff starter to…benchwarmer again.
The fourth-year guard has gone from playing 25 minutes per game in the NBA Playoffs to getting garbage time and DNP’s.
Many were surprised at Brown’s benching in the season-opening loss to the Bucks. After all, he offered 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in the seven-game series that saw the Nets a toe away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals over them.
The DNP play against the Philadelphia 76ers had us all scratching our heads even more. The addition of Jevon Carter in the Landry Shmet trade appears to have sucked all of Brown’s minutes away, though considering the team’s mixed results so far, is this the right move?
Why aren’t the Brooklyn Nets playing Bruce Brown?
There didn’t appear to be any issues related to injuries, so Nets Head Coach Steve Nash was asked about the lack of minutes for Brown after their loss to the Bucks.
"“We know what Bruce brings to the team,” said Nash. “We know that if we need competitiveness and combativeness and energy, we know we’ve got it in Bruce.”"
While fans have been clamoring for Bruce to get his normal minutes over guys like Carter or James Johnson, they might have to show patience as Nash figures out his rotations.
The move is certainly a gamble for Nash. After all, Brown is coming off the best year of his career and has the defensive versatility needed in today’s increasingly positionless league. I can’t help but think to myself that this might backfire for the team if he experiments with this for too long.
The good news is Nash is aware of what Brown brings to the table and is merely sitting him to figure out how the Nets can perform with more size.
"“We don’t know how we can look with bigger lineups,” Nash said. “It’s nothing Bruce has done.”"
The Brooklyn Nets will be hosting a six-game homestand beginning Sunday afternoon, so maybe this is the best stretch to let Nash get his explorations out of his system.
If it leads to more defensive issues and losses, though, don’t expect people to be happy about it. Brown might not be an amazing scorer right now, but he blended in well with Brooklyn last year, and he could do the same in 2021-22.