Bruce Brown feels safe in his new role with the Denver Nuggets

Players across the NBA will attest to a common motto for long-term survival power: Know your role.

For Bruce Brown, this phrase challenged him, helped him thrive and led him to Denver.

In the NBA’s four-year run so far, Brown has transformed into all kinds of roles and archetypes while playing for the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets. He opened his career by playing as a shooting guard, turned point guard in his second season, and reinvented himself as a Jack’s All-Professional Suite in Brooklyn And he even scored a meaningful time as a petite ball center while establishing himself as an important piece of the nets.

This summer, the 25-year-old received some control over his destiny as an unrestricted free worker. When Brown negotiated several potential franchises, he wanted to know his role – not just in terms of playing time, but also in terms of his own style. When Brown signed a two-year, $13.2 million contract with the Denver Nuggets, he assured Denver would provide a fruitful court-marriage of scheme and talent.

“[Knowing my role] It was huge, because you don’t want to go to a team where it doesn’t work, right? “Brown told Basketball News in a phone interview.” So I knew coming to Denver – the way they play, it’s a lot of cuts, slips [and] corner triads. And then, they got a lot of guys who know how to play basketball, so the game will be a lot easier.”

Of course, Denver also lists the cutter’s off-ball dream in Nikola Jokic. Brown expects easy chemistry on the field with the best player of the match.

“I feel like one of the best players in the league,” he said. “So that I can find open areas. Make the game easier for him, hitting corner threes [and] Just get rid of some pressure.”

Those cuts, slips and corner thirds became the pillars of Brown’s game after he joined the net. With Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden in the fold, Brooklyn didn’t have room for another lead guard. To stay in the field, Brown’s use has undergone a major overhaul. Just look at this gameplay data from Synergy:

year PnR Ball-Handler Play Freq. PnR Roll Man Play Repetition. cut repetition.
2018-19 15.8% Unavailable 11.7%
2019-20 29.5% Unavailable 10.3%
2020-21 3.6% 12.1% 26.2%
2021-22 4.4% 9.3% 23.7%

(Swipe right to view the full table on mobile. Note that N/A means Synergy keeps track of less than 10 total possessions for the type of play)

“In my first year, I was more than 2 years old, and in my second year I moved to the second year [was] “It’s just a learning experience,” Brown said. This was my first time playing 1, so [I’m] Knowing each position, knowing where the players are supposed to go; I know every game from every position.

“And then when I got to Brooklyn, it was a completely different situation where they already had their key guards. In season two, I was like, ‘I need to do something to be able to get grounded in this way. But on the offensive end, I have to do something. To stay on the ground at least to help the men on the ground. And that’s when I just started being a little rover. They’ve been helping me, so I’m going to cut the ball and get it easy just to keep them honest.”

Brown credited Adam Harrington, the former Nets director of player development, for helping him make the change in his first year with Brooklyn. Entering his second season with the Nets, Brown wanted to incorporate more peripheral skills back into his role, so he spent time with Brooklyn assistant coach Royal Ivey (also known as “Coach Smoke”) developing his three-point shot. The work led to a long-term segment of 40.4% in 2021-22, which is by far a career high.

But Brown’s previous experience as a game industry goalkeeper did not fall by the wayside. In fact, it is believed that it gives him additional advantages when he slips into the basket, cuts, or rolls into the basket. Brown knows what to look for in the defensive courses from his time as a head coach, and this opens up additional passing lanes and scoring opportunities.

“Connie 1, I know if I hit a big hit in the pocket, I know where help comes from [and] “What I wanted to do,” Brown said, so he made it a lot easier — like, I knew the low guy would always help out the corner, so either the corner pass or the guy on top would go. But if I don’t roll too much to the edge, the pontoon will always be open.”

The The float is a goldmine if Brown can raise his efficiency with a shot. But the clips below illustrate his unique connections as a slash-and-roll playmaker.

Brown needs just a split second to diagnose where the defenses will help, and from there, he can throw balls, hit big balls for quick passes or send the ball into corners. Players can rarely read the pass with little time on the ball. It’s easy to imagine him in a two-man action with Murray’s beauty producing a high-quality assist, or him cutting Jokic and passing an extra pass to the shooter.

Over the summer, Brown has continued to improve on the triple ball, and he wants to add consistency in shooting over the break in addition to his impressive cornering points. When the Nuggets laid out their vision for Brown, they said he would never need to completely remake his game again. The tools Brown added in Brooklyn could easily work alongside Denver stars.

“Come on, basically play the same role [with cuts, slips]”I mean the ball will be in Jokic’s hands and the beauty of the majority of the match,” Brown said of the Nuggets’ request. “So really, just play them like I’ve been doing in Brooklyn with KD and Kyrie, so, basically the same thing.”

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