Bruce Brown’s stifling defense important for Detroit Pistons

In just his second NBA season Bruce Brown is taking on some of the NBA’s biggest names, and he is stopping them.

Playing in just his second season, Bruce Brown has established himself as a starter in the Detroit Pistons lineup. This is despite being close to a liability on offense in his rookie season. He averaged 4.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists and shot a woeful 25.8 percent from deep.

Brown started 56 of his 74 games; the reason for that was his defense. This season, his game is developing on both ends of the court. He is averaging 8.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game in 28 games, 24 of them starts.

Brown is even shooting the ball at a better clip, going at a respectable 34.0 percent from deep. However, it is the other end of the court which is where Brown is making his mark.

Brown has taken on some of the biggest names in basketball this season and is more than holding his own. In a graphic which was displayed on Fox Sports Detroit in the game against the Memphis Grizzlies, they showed just how effective Brown had been.

Now, just a reminder, these numbers are only when Brown is guarding a player, not the whole game. Case in point was when the Pistons played against James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Harden scored 39 points for the game; however, when Brown was on him, Harden shot only 2-of-10. As a result, the Pistons were able to beat one of the most potent offenses in the NBA.

Likewise, when the Pistons took on the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the season, Kyrie Irving collected a 20 point triple-double. When he was matched up on Brown, Irving went 2-of-10 with two turnovers.

Others Brown has kept quiet are Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards (4-of-10), Malcolm Brogdon (4-of-10), and T.J. Warren (3-of-10) of the Indiana Pacers and Zach LaVine (1-of-6) of the Chicago Bulls.

This is a fairly long line of the best in the NBA for a second-round pick of a draft to have slowed right down. He is embracing his role and trying to help the team win. It is also helping Brown’s offensive production.

Brown has scored in double digits 10 games this season, he has one or more steals in seven of them, which have led to transition buckets. He also has at least one block in five of those games. The value this gives the Detroit Pistons is incredible, as is his confidence when moving on offense.

When starting point guard Reggie Jackson went down with injury, this had the potential to put a lot of pressure on Derrick Rose. The former MVP is on a minutes restriction to help guide him through the season. If Brown had not stepped up, Rose could also very easily be getting worn down, given his history.

The fact that Brown can start also allows Rose to come in off the bench. Rose is not known for his defensive prowess, yes he can stay in front of his player but is not a stopper. Taking on second units allows Rose to be more effective and gives coach Dwane Casey options.

The biggest impact Brown may have on this franchise in in the coming off-season. Jackson is a talented point guard, but has only five of his nine seasons where he has managed 70 games or more. This is the last season of his four-year deal and Jackson is an $18 million millstone at the end of the bench.

The Detroit Pistons will have options moving forward if they decide not to continue down the Jackson path with how well Brown is playing. If he continues to develop at the current rate, it may in fact be an easy decision.