Bulls’ Troy Brown Jr Showing his Full Game

Troy Brown Jr.

Getty Troy Brown Jr. during an October 5 preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

During the Chicago Bulls‘ 46-point thrashing of the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, Troy Brown Jr had one of his best all-around games since getting traded to the team almost a year ago.

The 22-year-old wing notched seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and swiped six steals in just over 24 minutes of game action, further proving there’s some untapped upside left in his game.


Jumping-off Point

The Pistons game should serve as a reminder for Brown that he is capable of helping out in multiple areas. Since coming into the league as the 15th overall draft selection in 2018, chosen by the Washington Wizards, Brown has consistently worked the boards at a solid rate of 7.4 per 36 minutes for his career, which is a fairly high rate for a 6-foot-6 wing.

During his second season with the Wizards, Brown was given more opportunities to handle the ball, functioning almost as a de facto point guard for longer stretches.

That’s no coincidence, as Brown was a former point guard standout in high school and took some of those skills with him to Oregon, which in part helped him become a near lottery selection.

During this third season, however, Brown wasn’t playing and finally got traded to the Bulls during the NBA trade deadline, hoping for a fresh start.

A year into his Bulls career, Brown isn’t a high-minute player, currently receiving 14.7 minutes per game, but he is a part of an elite Eastern Conference team that could be gearing up for a deep playoff run.

The Bulls and Brown never made it anywhere on any extension chatter, and Brown will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season, possibly making him a trade candidate for the Bulls due to his $5.1 million salary, per Spotrac, which could act as a nice salary-filler component to a larger trade.

Alternatively, Brown could use his performance against the Pistons as confirmation that his intriguing combination of skills remain, and it’s only a matter of applying them more aggressively when receiving court time.


The Swing Skill

Brown isn’t a strong three-point shooter, which has been a theme for his career, and it’s arguably the biggest factor of his game moving forward that teams will see as a necessary requirement for him to earn more minutes.

While Brown has grown as a defender under head coach Billy Donovan, there is a need for him to be a more reliable offensive contributor, in particular from range.

Working in Brown’s favor is the fact that there is nothing mechanically off with this shot. It’s one fluid motion with the ball coming off his finger tips, and he rarely misses badly.

The optimistic approach would expect him to become an average-to-better shooter in time, preferably sooner than later, while the pessimistic approach would ask questions about why someone so mechanically sound is still hitting just 31.1% from deep.

That’s not to suggest Brown couldn’t be an impactful player in his own right even without a strong shot, but it would allow him to use his ball handling more to put the ball on the deck when defenders close out hard on him. Right now, defenders are mostly letting him shoot, and he’s yet to punish them for it.

As such, he’s making his own way while the shot is coming around by being defensively active, hitting the glass and approaching the game with a pass-first mentality, all of which are commendable areas of focus.

Time, however, is not much on his side given his contractual status, so finding ways to be more aggressive offensively should be a focus for the fourth-year player, particularly considering that shots are available in Chicago’s second unit.

Furthermore, he’s playing under Donovan who has a reputation for not holding players back.

There’s no time like the present for Brown to prove himself in Chicago, and the opportunity is there. The Pistons game acted as a reminder of what he can bring to the table, thus making the challenge all about repetition.

For Brown, it’s all about grabbing that chance and making the most of it.

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