Even Steve Nash has admitted his Nets have been desperate for more toughness and defense. And that’s exactly what Bruce Brown has given them in spades.

Offensively limited on a team loaded with offense, Brown will never have Kobe Bryant’s talent. But that doesn’t mean he can’t emulate the late star’s tenaciousness, giving the Nets (13-8) some much-needed grit to go with all their glamour.

“He was a dog and didn’t care about anything out there. There was no friends out there,” Brown said of Bryant. “He went out and played hard, so that’s what I try to do every night: Go out there and be a dog and don’t care who I’m guarding or guard the best player every night on the offensive end and try to stop them.”

After going from starter in Detroit to forgotten man in Brooklyn, Brown forced himself into the rotation the old-fashioned way: He’s earned it, with physicality and energy that’s made life easier on star guards Kyrie Irving and James Harden.