Wizards

Can Troy Brown be counted on as a PG?

Wizards

The low pressure nature of the Wizards' time in the NBA's restart bubble gave them the opportunity to experiment with putting their young players in new situations and none stood out more than the time Troy Brown Jr. spent at point guard. He finished a tight game against the Pacers in that role, then made two starts to close out the season against the Bucks and Celtics.

Overall, the results were mixed. But he did enough to get a vote of confidence from general manager Tommy Sheppard following the season.

"We think Troy can be a back-up point guard. He’s going to need a lot more reps," Sheppard said.

If Brown can indeed be relied on as a back-up point guard, that would change the complexion of the Wizards' offseason. As of now, they need a third point guard behind John Wall and Ish Smith, whether they can find that in Brown or somebody else.

Every team needs three point guards, technically. But the Wizards will need an extra-capable third option given Wall is returning from a ruptured Achilles and, it would seem, a minutes restriction is in his near future, or at least no back-to-backs. If he doesn't start, Smith would be elevated into a starting role and in need of a back-up.

If Brown can be that guy, it would be great for the Wizards who could then focus on other needs this offseason. The draft class is heavy on point guards, but perhaps they could address another area like rim protection or wing defense.

 

They could then save money in free agency instead of re-signing Shabazz Napier or bringing in someone at a similar price like D.J. Augustin, Emmanuel Mudiay or Michael Carter-Williams, who will all be available. With hopes of re-signing Davis Bertans, saving costs elsewhere wouldn't be the worst thing for Washington.

The biggest question for Brown as it pertains to point guard may be his defense, as the Wizards saw dividends when they acquired Napier in a trade with the Denver Nuggets. They had the 29th-ranked defensive rating for the season as a whole, but were 14th in the league after bringing in Napier. It was a 23-game sample size.

Going from one of the worst defenses to an average one may be enough to make the Wizards a playoff team again, as their offense has the tools to be a top-10 unit. With Wall, Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant and possibly Bertans, they should be able to score. 

Defense, though, remains a question and most of the skills Brown has that translate to point guard relate to the offensive end. He is an adept ball-handler and passer, especially for his size, but staying in front of smaller, quicker point guards is not easy for him.

The good news is that Brown now has months to train for next season. He showed improvement from the first part of the season to the restart and is only 21. He has plenty of upside still to tap into.

Sheppard has to determine whether Brown did enough for the Wizards to cross back-up point guard off their offseason to-do list.

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