Pistons Lead

Brown Stepping up in Time of Need

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It has been a rough start medically for the Pistons this season.  Blake Griffin has yet to play a game, though it was announced that he has been medically cleared and set to return Monday night.  Derrick Rose and Tim Frazier have been dealing with nagging injuries that have caused them to miss the last week.  Unfortunately, the biggest blow came with the Reggie Jackson news that he will be out at least four weeks with a stress injury in his back.

 

With Jackson, Rose and Frazier missing time, it has put the team in a very tough place.  They signed more players at the position to avoid the issues of point guard depth.  With all of them out, the team has had to lean into the future faster than expected.  All signs point to Bruce Brown being the answer at the position in the future if he realizes his potential.  So far, there have been some positive flashes.

Starting Bruce

Brown has started most of the games this season at the shooting guard position when the team was healthy, so being out at the beginning of the game is nothing new.  His defense last season and stellar play in Summer League earned him that spot.  With all other point guards on the roster missing time, Brown reverted to the position he thrived in during the summer.  His first game in the position led to a 22-point, 7-assist performance and a win over the Brooklyn Nets.  He also contributed to Kryrie Irving going 8/21 from the field.  He followed that up with 14 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds against Washington, one of the few Detroit highlights in the game.  Finally, Brown took more of a backseat against the Knicks and Pacers but still finished with 9 points and 6 assists and 10/6/4 respectively.

The beauty of his game currently is he does not have to post huge numbers to make an impact.  He is so strong defensively and his passing and cutting create openings for teammates even when he does not get the assist.  Consistency and efficiency has been the biggest issue so far for Brown but he is improving.  If he can stay focused and continue looking for the right pass, he will help the team weather the storm until others get back from injury.  Some teammates are already benefiting greatly from the current offensive set up.

Help on the Margins

Much maligned by certain sections of Pistons Twitter, Langston Galloway is having a positive start to the season.  So far this season, he is averaging over 10 points per game while posting the effective shooting percentage of his career. For a team in desperate need of shooting outside of Luke Kennard, Galloway has been just that.  He is also filling in as backup point guard in a pinch, one of the roles that Stan Van Gundy initially signed him for.  Galloway was rumored to be shopped around in the preseason when the team was looking to make a move, but luckily he is still in the Motor City and earning his spot one game at a time.  If Galloway can keep this up, it will make the Pistons competitive and send him into free agency next summer in strong fashion.

Brown running point has also woken up Tony Snell, at least for one game.  Snell is off to a slower start this season, but was an undeniable force against the Knicks.  All of his teammates found him in good positions, leading to him being a perfect 9-9 from the field for 24 points.  Markieff Morris also had his best game of the season.  While some of this can be attributed to a less-than-game Knicks squad, Bruce Brown is undoubtedly having a positive impact on the team.

Looking Forward

While it is less than ideal for the Pistons to already be missing four expected rotation players, there could be some positives to take from this.  Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown had the potential to be the back court of the future and some people that could be a year away.  While it still is, more minutes can only help.  The team has still been in games and is right around .500 with returns for Blake Griffin, Tim Frazier and Derrick Rose on the horizon.  Brown has proved he is worth the look at the position and makes it easier to let Jackson get healthy and take his time coming back.

Jackson has a bad reputation among some Pistons’ fans, myself included.  But he is a tremendous teammate and will be supportive of Brown’s development.  An injury like this is a tough break for a player heading into free agency.  Hopefully with the Pistons finding some answers in his absence will ease the transition back and allow him to have a huge back half of the season.  The Pistons need all hands on deck.

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