Troy Brown Jr. still isn’t sure why it went off the tracks so quickly in Washington.
The 15th overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft went from rookie going through the normal growing pains his first season, to a legitimate second-year player that seemed to have found a foothold with the Wizards and an upward trajectory.
Jumping from 4.8 points per game to 10.4 per game in Year 2 is a solid climb. Until it wasn’t.
Washington selected Deni Avdija with the No. 9 pick in the 2020 draft, and just like that Brown saw he was being pushed out of not only playing time, but on many nights the rotation.
“It was kind of hard, just getting adjusted to things,” Brown said, when explaining his journey to the Bulls. “Coming off of the [Orlando] bubble, [the Wizards] kind of told me I was going to be playing like backup point guard then coming into the season, I kind of was playing like the four, then after that I kind of went to the bench. So it was one of those things where it was definitely hard, but at the end of the day for me my goal was just to continue getting better and just like trying to talk to Deni and try to give him some of the information I wish would have knew when I was a rookie.”
The hope now is the Wizards’ loss will be the Bull’s gain, as he was acquired in the three-team trade deadline deal that also sent Daniel Theis and Javonte Green to the Bulls.
A new lease on his career? Maybe, but Brown wasn’t putting that kind of drama behind the deal.
“I just talked to coach and he was just like, ‘Right now we need defense. We just need a defensive presence,’ ” Brown said.
Brown checked that box in his debut against the Spurs on Saturday, playing solid defense in his 14 minutes of work, but also scoring eight points and handing out three assists. What he is long term for Donovan, however, that remains to be seen.
“It’s hard because you know he wasn’t like I would consider a rotation player,” Donovan said of that debut. “We got down by a large margin. I put [Brown] and Javonte in there to give them some minutes to see what they would look like. So we’ll see going forward.”
Brown hopes that’s the case. The way he sees it he thinks he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity.
“For me personally, I feel like with my length and size and being able to guard one-through-three and being able to absorb like that four position a little bit, I feel like it definitely helps,” Brown said. “I feel like for me personally it’s just about energy and effort and making sure I bring that mentality every game and I think everything else will handle itself just based on knowing coverages and me being active and being on the floor.”
Return to normalcy?
The NBA continued pushing the idea of getting back on a normal offseason schedule, as it was announced on Monday that the draft will be held on July 29, with the lottery coming June 22, and the draft combine taking place June 21-27.
Before the coronavirus turned the sports world upside down, the draft used to take place in late June. But what this will eventually allow is the league getting back to a normal schedule for the fall, meaning training camp can begin in late September and the regular season would tip-off in mid-October.