Following trade deadline, Bruce Brown has found his role for Brooklyn

Bruce Brown
Bruce Brown reacts after a slam dunk against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center.
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

While Kevin Durant was the center of the Nets offense on Sunday and Kyrie Irving stole the show with his second-quarter appearance courtside to watch the game, Bruce Brown flew under the radar.

However, Brown has played some of his best basketball over the past few weeks and given the Nets a consistent effort on both ends of the floor. Against the New York Knicks, Brown put up 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, along with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and a pair of steals.

“Bruce has been great,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “Locked in defensively. We’ve been pushing him to find his identity down there. He’s been really solid with the game plan. … Just winning basketball plays he makes over and over, so just love his competitiveness, his spirit and defensively he’s really locked in.”

The change has been noticeable since the trade deadline back on  Feb. 10. Brown has been a solid soldier for the Nets through the continued fluctuation of the lineup and provided some added offense, especially with Kevin Durant back on the floor, and consistent defense for a team that needs it.

In his past 13 games, Brown has averaged 13.5 points and has shot 53.5% from the field and over 40% from three-point range. In that span, he has scored in single digits just twice.

The 25-year-old believed that his struggles at the start of the year were mental. Brown said that he was trying to fit into the role he played last year, but it didn’t work.

After falling out of the rotation he went to one of his coaches to try and figure out what he could do to get his season back on track.

“I started working on a little bit of guard stuff. Just getting back to my game,” Brown said. “The way I played my whole life and it’s starting to work.”

Even in the past few games for Brown, the Nets have seen his shooting get better. In Brown’s most recent five games he has shot nearly 60% from the field.

“This year he’s playing like an all-around player. A guard, shooting a three, getting it off the rim, defending as he always does,” Durant said. “He’s just playing with ultimate confidence and you start to see — I mean I look at Bruce as still a younger player. You start to see younger players figuring out what they want to do in this league, it’s just fun to see in real-time. I’m just excited that he’s getting better and better.

“He’s not complacent with where he is right now I can tell you that.”