Even though it wasn’t the Woj Bomb that Brooklyn Nets fans were hoping for (that could still come later), the Nets have made their first trade of the 2020 offseason, as they’ll be sending Dzanan Musa and a 2021 second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons for Bruce Brown.
The Nets are picking up a young guard with a bulldog mentality on defense and an offensive game that has grown leaps and bounds since Brown broke into the NBA consciousness at Summer League in 2019.
The appeal of Brown is not necessarily his upside. While he’ll never be a star, he should be a quality role player off the bench for Brooklyn, which is important for a team in need of good role players around the stars already in place.
Nets fans don’t have a clear picture of what their team will look like when the 2020-21 NBA season starts on Dec. 22, but with Brown, they are getting a defensive guard with a high floor who doesn’t break the bank contract wise. To make the money work for this deal, the Nets will be guaranteeing the $1.66 million on Brown’s contract for 2020-21.
While Brown is by no means a lockdown defender, his effort and sharp instincts in passing lanes have made him a quality defender over his first two seasons, giving the Nets another rotation guy they can throw at quality guards like Ben Simmons, Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic in the playoffs.
From an offensive perspective, Brown boosted his numbers from his first to second season with an improved 3-point stroke, as well as better vision when driving to the lane.
Additionally, Brown played with so much energy in short bursts in Detroit, getting a lot of offensive rebounds for a 6-foot-4 combo guard. He ranked fifth among point guards in offensive rebounding in 2020, averaging over one offensive rebound per game.
That effort to corral a missed shot could be crucial for the Nets, as giving superstars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving a second chance on an offensive possession is yet another reason why the Nets should have one of the best offenses in the league this season. That offensive rebounding along with Brown’s ability to move without the ball will be crucial for a Nets team where the superstars should have the ball in their hands for the majority of offensive possessions.
This trade is a relative home run for Brooklyn, as Brown gives them a cheap rotation player who gives the flexibility to move on from heftier contracts like Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert in a potential James Harden trade. While those guys are obviously much better players than Brown, the former Detroit Piston makes the Nets feel much better about potentially parting with those talented guards in a bigger deal.
Brown gives Brooklyn a quality defender who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work on offense. If he can continue to make strides with his 3-point shot, there’s no reason why he can’t be a cheap 3-and-D guy who can be on the floor in crunch time for a star-studded Nets team.