Bruce Brown’s two-year, $13 million deal with Denver Nuggets might have been the steal of last offseason. However, he’s likely to opt-out of that deal and test the market again this summer. After shooting 51.1% during Denver’s championship run, Brown will be one of the best small forwards available. With an expected big market for his services, Brown’s new deal surely won’t fly under any radar.
Bruce Brown 2023 NBA Free Agent Profile
The Pistons selected Brown with the 42nd pick in the 2018 draft and flipped him to Brooklyn two years later. The University of Miami product spent two years as an underrated versatile piece with the Nets’ now-failed super team.
In 2021-22, the Nets used Brown as a small-ball power forward and center. He averaged 9 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. However, Brown and the Nuggets agreed that his offensive upside could be reached if Brown was utilized as a guard and even point guard at times. Clearly, both parties were right as Brown averaged 11.5 points per game last season with 3.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
According to Brown, not many teams expressed interest in signing him last offseason.
“Nobody really wanted me,” Brown said, “because they didn’t know if I could be a guard, so I kind of took it personal.”
The 6-4 guard blossomed in his one season with Denver and developed into a crucial piece of a championship-winning team. He will no doubt have a robust market this summer.
Brown produced the best year of his career last season by utilizing his athleticism to provide efficient scoring and impactful defense off the bench. The 25-year-old started a career-low 31 games last season despite appearing in a career-high 80.
Although seeing more time as a perimeter player took his game to new levels, Brown is still one of the most versatile players in the NBA. In signing Brown, a team will be getting a gritty player willing to play defense, grab rebounds, and create shots. He’s one of 37 players to average 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Brown is an ideal asset to have if the team needs to cover an injury or alter its scheme based on matchups. He might not be a star but has proved to be a high-end complimentary piece supporting MVPs like Nikola Jokić and Kevin Durant.
Brown is a solid player with a skill set that fits most teams. The competition might result in him signing a deal many teams deem too expensive. Brown, a league-average shooter, won’t take over a game and lead his team to a win. Despite clearly being a winning player, teams won’t break the bank for a solid complimentary player.
Brown attempted a career-high 3.2 three-pointers per game last year. That’s almost double his previous career high of 1.7 (2019-20). He attempted more three-pointers, but his percentage decreased from the year before (40.4% to 35.8%). In similar fashion, he attempted a career-high 9.3 shots from the field last year while his field goal percentage decreased by 2.3 percent from the prior year (50.6% to 48.3%).
Brown can do everything above average, but nothing really great. Teams must determine just how much value to place on this type of complimentary player.
Brown and the Nuggets were a great fit last year. To no surprise, it seems neither party wants a breakup. However, Denver can only sign Brown to a $7.8 million deal. He’s surely going to get a bigger deal elsewhere and even has the chance to double his $6.8 million salary. That being said, Brown told the Denver Post that money isn’t the only factor in his decision.
“I want to stay. … It’s a perfect fit. And money is not everything. The money will come. So I’m not worried about that right now.”
The 76ers could sign Brown as an upgrade over Georges Niang. Brown represents a more athletic and efficient shooter while providing more minutes and defense. Philadelphia is a win-now team that could use Brown’s grit and versatility.
Brown thrived playing with two-time MVP Nikola Jokić and can do the same with another in Milwaukee. The Bucs, the oldest team in the NBA last season, could use Brown’s youth and athleticism. With Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton likely gone in free agency, Brown would be a great addition to extend the Bucs’ contention window.
Bruce Brown is one of the better players on the market this year. A great option for many contenders, it’ll be fun watching his market this summer.