Bruce Brown has been a revelation this season for the Brooklyn Nets. Of that, we can be sure. How’d it happen? With a big dose of help from ... James Harden.
The Nets came out of the Draft Night deal for Brown like bandits. Acquiring him from the Detroit Pistons for bench player Dzanan Musa and a second round pick (that wasn’t even theirs), was indeed a steal, seeing as Brown is in the midst of a breakout season.
His role has literally been flipped on its head. Once a full-time point guard with the Pistons, Brown has become a pseudo-center in Brooklyn, going from 1 to 5 in a flash. He’s rolling to the rim, operating in the short roll, and finding opportunities at the rim, even with a traditional center like DeAndre Jordan on the floor alongside him. (Thus, the “pseudo” part of “pseudo-center.”)
James Harden’s mid-season arrival in Brooklyn has played no small part in his development. Harden is one the NBA’s premier facilitators and has been looking to get his teammates involved in Brooklyn more than ever; he’s passing on seven of every 10 touches, a career high mark, per Second Spectrum.
Brown is high on the list of those profiting off Harden’s creation for others. In Detroit, Brown had to create offense for himself in the pick-and-roll and off the catch. As a result, only 48% of his field goals were assisted, per NBA Stats. In Brooklyn, however, a whopping 78% of his made baskets are coming off of direct dimes from teammates.