The Detroit Pistons have checked a couple of items off their offseason “to do” list. They hired their new coach and landed two more first-round picks in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Lost in the shuffle of the NBA Draft, players and teams are making decisions on whether to pick up contract options or to move on, specifically former Piston Bruce Brown.
The free agent market is becoming much clearer as each of these player options are either picked up, or declined. Draymond Green has opted out of his player option in Golden State, Kyle Kuzma has opted out in Washington, and more interestingly for the Detroit Pistons, Bruce Brown has opted out in Denver and plans on testing free agency. Brown played an integral role in the Nugget’s championship run this past season, so the question has to be asked. Is a reunion in Detroit realistic, and would this second chance end better than the first?
Should the Detroit Pistons reunite with Bruce Brown?
Brown’s Detroit beginnings
Coming out of the University of Miami, Brown was heralded for his defense and athletic ability. There was a major concern surrounding his offense and overall scoring ability, but Detroit saw enough in the young Hurricane’s tenacious defense and would select him in the second round. During his time in Detroit, Brown more or less continued his collegiate trajectory. He would end up spending just two full seasons in Detroit, finishing with 6.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, and 3.6 rpg. At the time, Detroit needed an all-star, and that mantle was too much for Brown to hold himself, leading to him being traded to Brooklyn before the 2020-2021 season.
Improvements after Detroit
Since leaving Detroit, Bruce Brown has continued his above average defense and athletic ability, but has also come around offensively. This past season, Brown finished with the Nuggets averaging almost 12 points per night to go along with 4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. While these aren’t franchise altering numbers, Brown played a great role in Denver. His versatility and improved three point shooting (36% from deep) make him attractive to almost every NBA team.
It’s these tangibles that could be utilized in Detroit next season. Standing at 6-foot-4, he could fill the shallow 3-guard position for the Pistons while also bringing veteran leadership with him. Brown can credibly defend 1-5, and has learned how to be more effective off the ball. Even though he is still just 26, he has been to, and won in the Finals, something no one in Detroit can say.
Is a reunion In the cards?
At the end of the day, I think Detroit is still another offensive weapon away from being able to utilize Bruce Brown. If Detroit were to bring him back, he would need to be that weapon, needing to up his offensive averages, all career highs already, to upwards of 15+ points per game to truly help this team. Especially with the addition of Ausar Thompson from last week’s draft, adding Bruce Brown might just create an unnecessary logjam. At his current level of play, stat-wise, he is able to be the perfect supporting-cast player.
That being said, if he is open to a reunion for the right price, preferably less than the 4 year/$56mil deal that Denver could offer next season, Detroit could bank on him continuing to improve offensively and run it back with Bruce Brown.