If the Nets have one potential impact player who is flying under the radar, it’s guard Bruce Brown, who was acquired in a predraft trade from the Pistons. He averaged 8.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists and started for much of his second season with the Pistons, but he comes to the Nets with a reputation as a defensive stopper.
"I think he’s a defensive player at this point," coach Steve Nash said of Brown on Monday. "The offensive game is something he’s still developing. We have to be patient with him and he continues to work on his playmaking and shooting. But he competes, is a good defender and can grow offensively. He’s got an opportunity to get better on both sides of the ball, make an impact."
The challenge Brown faces is finding a spot in the playing rotation in a deep backcourt featuring starters Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert and backups the caliber of Spencer Dinwiddie, Landry Shamet and Tyler Johnson.
Brown said he hasn’t talked much with Nash about his offensive role, and it’s clear he understands defense is his calling card.
"Scoring-wise, I don’t think we need to score as much," Brown said. "We have Kyrie, [Kevin Durant], Caris, all those guys who score the ball. So I think my main focus should be on the defensive end and try to get better and learn the new [defensive] rules we have on this team . . . That’s going to get me on the floor and help this team win."
While Brown has started 99 of the 132 games he has played in the NBA, he understands the Nets’ depth makes it an uphill climb for him this season.
"We’re going to be really good," he said. "Everybody can score, everybody can play defense. The sky is the limit for us . . . This is definitely the best team I’ve probably ever been on."