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Add Bruce Brown in fantasy basketball while you still can

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Brown might be stepping into a larger role in Detroit (especially if Rose is traded) and now’s the time to stash him.

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Thirty-seven players in the NBA this year are scoring 8+ points per game, grabbing 4+ rebounds per game, making 3+ assists per game, and are shooting 44+% from the floor.

Bruce Brown, 23-year-old guard for the Detroit Pistons, is one of those 37 players. He averages the least amount of points, boards, and dimes (since his numbers are the baseline for the comparison), but he also averages the third-fewest minutes per game (27.4) and fewest shots (7.5) of those 37 players.

He’s also the only one who’s rostered in less than 60% of ESPN leagues.

Presumably, Derrick Rose will be traded from the Pistons by the trade deadline. Rose has been great, every team could use another shot creator and ball handler, and Detroit just doesn’t need him. DRose is averaging the MOST shot attempts on the Pistons this season, 15.4 FGA per game, which is 35th most in the NBA, by the way. Only two players this season have averaged 15+ FGA per game, while playing less than 30 minutes per game: Steph Curry, who’s only played 4 games due to injury, and DRose, who’s played in 41 games. Rose has the SIXTH BEST field goal percentage of those players, which is astonishing. Think about Rose next to LeBron James, or Luka Doncic, or Giannis Antetokounmpo. Hell, think about DRose in Toronto!

Anyways, when the Pistons do trade Rose, one can assume that Bruce Brown will receive at least a few of Rose’s minutes and shots. Let’s be conservative and say that nothing changes for Brown: he’s still on that list of crazy goddamn valuable players from above! That makes his floor a top 150 player, even taking into account his age and lack of playing time. That’s a good start, especially in dynasty leagues. Plus, he’s basically free, seeing as how he’s owned less than Dennis Smith, Jr.

Let’s be a little less conservative and say that Brown’s numbers go up just a little bit: let’s say he averages 30+ MPG, and he starts to score 10+ PPG (he’s averaged 9+ PPG since 11/1/19), keeps his rebounds at 4+ RPG, and gets 5+ dishes per game (he’s made 4+ RPG and 4+ APG since 11/1/19), along with maintaining his 44 FG%. Only seventeen players are averaging 10+ PPG, 4+ RPG, 5+ APG, and 44+ FG% this year. Only 40 players are even averaging 5 dimes a game, so if Brown only gets a few more dishes a game and nothing else changes, he’ll still be in great fantasy territory, especially since his shot attempts should increase.

I should also mention this: Brown’s 1.2 steals per game has allowed him to amass 53 total steals (as of Sunday, 1/26/20) and is tied for 32nd most in the NBA, with Bam Adebayo. Out of everyone in the NBA who has at least 50 total steals, and has attempted at least 75 threes (like Brown has), and has a 44+ FG%, Bruce Brown has the SEVENTH BEST 3PT% (34.7 3PT% on the season; 35+ 3PT% since December 1st). Only Zach LaVine (99% owned), TJ Warren (88%), Donovan Mitchell (99%), PJ Tucker (36%), Chris Paul the Point God (99%), and KAWHI LEONARD (100%) have better ratios than Bruce Brown with as many steals. (PJ Tucker has his faults as a fantasy player, but he’s still been a top 100 player on the season.)

Bruce Brown is a young player whose team is playing for a lottery pick (most likely), giving Brown ample opportunity to play, which means shots and dimes and steals, along with some rebounds and hopefully helpful shooting ratios. Brown isn’t a must-add, until and unless some Pistons get traded. As things stand now, he’s a useful young player with upside. He hasn’t wow’ed, but he has produced. That’s a good floor to build on.