One of the major trade deadline acquisitions for the Chicago Bulls last season, outside of the former Orlando Magic star center Nikola Vucevic, was the former Washington Wizards shooting guard/small forward Troy Brown Jr. The Bulls landed Brown from the Wizards for a return of big man Daniel Gafford and small forward Chandler Hutchison. It was a good deal for the Bulls to add some more potent depth on the wing.
Heading into next season, Brown looks to play a more integral two-way role on the wing for head coach Billy Donovan and the Bulls. Brown showed flashes in bits and pieces down the stretch last season with the Bulls, but he only played in a little over a dozen games for this team post-deadline.
It is encouraging for what the Bulls’ coaching staff and front office see in Brown that he played in a little over five minutes more per game off the bench than he did with the Wizards pre-deadline. Granted, a lot of that was due to the fact that veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr. was traded to the Magic at the deadline in the Vucevic deal.
That left Donovan and the Bulls even thinner in an already shallow wing rotation last season.
What Brown brought to the table for the Bulls last season was a good scorer to rely on from inside the arc, and a solid on-ball defender. Brown has enough length and athleticism to keep up with most wings/forwards that he defends without trouble. He also put up some of the better rebounding numbers of his career with the Bulls in the 13 games he played in down the stretch last season.
Troy Brown Jr.’s stock trending up with the Chicago Bulls heading into 2021-22
Yet, there was something that Brown did well that is something that just might mean he is a good fit in this system with the Bulls in the final 13 games of last season. Brown led the team in the final dozen games of the regular season in on/off plus/minus at 13.5. That is the best on/off plus/minus of Brown’s career thus far.
He also posted a net rating of 10.2 in the 13 games he played in with the Bulls.
Two of the reasons for the positive production for Brown when he was on the floor for the Bulls were his shot selection and good on-ball defense. Brown has a high basketball IQ which leads to his ability to play good help defense and keep up defensively on-ball.
As far as the shot selection is concerned, Brown isn’t a great three-point shooter. That’s why he took a higher volume of shots from inside the arc, leading to a 52.7 field goal percentage with the Bulls last season. He also registered a sparkling 61.6 true shooting percentage.
If Brown can get to the free-throw line more often next season, then we could see his true shooting percentage continue to stay in the 60s. He registered a free-throw attempt rate around just .109 with the Bulls last season.
Moreover, Brown’s solid on-ball defense was highlighted by his 0.3 defensive box plus/minus and career-best 113 defensive rating. He also rebounded the ball well, registering a defensive rebounding percentage north of 16.
What Brown does well is use his strengths to maximize his efficiency. He rarely turns the ball over and knows that getting to the rim is often his best option, knowing how quick he is off-the-dribble driving to the lane. And on defense, he uses his length and athleticism to matchup well one-on-one on the wing.
Brown is likely to get minutes as a backup on the wing for Donovan and the Bulls next season. He’s likely to compete with the former Portland Trail Blazers small forward Derrick Jones Jr. for minutes in the second unit out of the gates.