Roleplayer Appreciation: The Spotlight for the Non-Star

What’s up guys?! So one of my favorite things about basketball is the progression of unheralded players. Guys the normal fan doesn’t really know or just glances over. They won’t stuff the box score, or flash on the screen, but they have real value and I want you to know about them. I’m going to shed some light on players that I watch throughout the season that catch my eye and who I think deserve your attention!

Bruce Brown with a poster slam during the Pistons surprising upset of Houston

Bruce Brown; if you know this man’s name, it’s probably for the wrong reasons. He got caught on the wrong end of some spectacular offensive plays and terrible shooting nights last year. But, Brown has shown some incredible growth this year.

No one is going to confuse him with Ray Allen, but the Detroit guard has gone from one of the worst shooter in basketball last year (25.8% from three) to a more respectable shooter (31.7%.) He’s shooting nearly four percent better from the floor overall this year after he shot less than 40% last season (That’s horrendous.)

While these may seem like relatively unspectacular marks; a player jumping from damn near abysmal up to slightly below average, this is huge in terms of Brown’s development.

Brown was a second round pick coming out of the University of Miami in the 2018 draft. The expectations were incredibly low for him as he was a relatively poor shooter and offensive player in college, but got a chance due to his athleticism.

Brown has leveraged that athleticism to become a stand out defender as well as rebound at a much higher level than his 6’4 stature would project. He is primarily guarding opposing teams’ top perimeter player every single game and doing so at a very high level; routinely having given top players fits.

When Defended by Bruce Brown: James Harden – 2/10 fg Kyrie Irving – 3/10 fg Bradley Beal – 4/10 fg

Brown was showing flashes of great defense in his rookie year last year, and has only polished his abilities even more so in his sophomore season. He also has improved as a ballhandler and playmaker this year, taking on much more responsibility in the offense due to the injuries to Detroit’s guard rotation.

If Brown can keep up his defensive output and continue to craft his offensive game, he could be playing in the league for quite some time and contributing to winning basketball. Will he be an All-Star? No, probably not, but Bruce Brown is showing the promise to be a very solid player in the league for years to come. So many second round picks don’t even get a second contract. Whether he’s in Detroit, or finds his way to another team, he’s certainly going to be a player to keep an eye on.

If you have any comments, opinions, or suggestions for future players, let me know down below!

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