The Wizards' time in the Orlando bubble without Bradley Beal, John Wall and Davis Bertans has created some room for head coach Scott Brooks to try some things he would never otherwise be able to try, at least not in a game that counts. On Tuesday, he experimented with Troy Brown Jr. as his starting point guard for the first time.
Brown had played some point guard already in the seeding games, most notably against the Pacers when he closed out the fourth quarter running the show. After that game, Brooks indicated Brown would get a start at the position. Tuesday was the night.
It wasn't exactly a great showing. Brown struggled by shooting 3-for-15. He had nine points, six rebounds and three assists, a far cry from the 16.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists he averaged in the team's previous six games in Orlando.
Brown was off and it didn't help that as he began the game running the offense, the Wizards missed their first nine shots.
"He got a learning experience. Sometimes it happens that way," Brooks said. "Didn't play well. We didn't have a good start. I'm not throwing it all on him, we just didn't have a good rhythm."
Brooks added that he won't judge Brown off of one game, but he also made it seem like there won't be a ton of opportunities for him to play point guard moving forward. They only have one more game before this season is over and next season five-time All-Star John Wall will return.
If Brown is auditioning for a larger share of the point guard duties, there are only so many that could go around long-term. Still, it didn't hurt to give him a look.
"This is time that we can experiment with that. Next year, he's probably not going to get those opportunities where he's going to be really the only playmaker on the floor," Brooks said.
Tuesday was mostly just a reminder that Brown is young and still has a lot of work to do if he wants to play more point guard in his future. Brown was drafted in the first round of 2018 as a wing, but has said he feels most comfortable running point.
He has the ball-handling and passing skills to suggest he could someday do just that. But it takes time to find consistent success at the NBA level and point guard is a demanding position.
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"Troy is special, man," point guard Ish Smith said. 'He can make plays. He's got a lot of tools. It's crazy, he's just 21. When I was 21, I was on a college campus running around trying to skip study hall. I don't know how some of these guys do it."
Brown, 21, has now had the bar set for himself. He has a better idea of how much more work is required to achieve his goal of playing point guard more often.
It will be something he can keep in mind this offseason as he works towards the 2020-21 campaign.
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