Summer League basketball has never been an indicator for NBA success. Sometimes players who have success in Las Vegas will move on to better things, but the results don’t always translate. The Glen Rice Jr. MVP experience tells us this.
With that being said, after his performance in Vegas this summer, Troy Brown Jr. looks amazing. His skillset is perfect for the Wizards. Immediately, at age 18, he’s already one of the two or three best ball handlers on the team and has incredible passing vision for a wing player. He finishes at difficult angles and can knife his way into a defense despite not being the most explosive player.
He wasn’t high on most draft boards and could be seen as a reach considering most experts didn’t have him being drafted inside the top 20, but the Wizards feel they have a gem in Brown.
He could absolutely see playing time this year with his versatility. He fits well into multiple positions from playing point to both forward positions. But when you look up and down the depth chart, it’s hard to find a spot where Brown fits in the rotation.
Starter: Otto Porter Jr.
Backup: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Rotation players: Devin Robinson
This is likely going to be Brown’s most natural position. He’s more of a wing playmaker than a traditional 3-and-D defender today, so his functionality within the team’s schemes on both ends could shift because of that. With that being said, it’s hard to see a space where he cracks the rotation here.
Porter unquestionably has the starting spot on lock and Oubre is a great bet going into the season as his backup and the team’s sixth man. His shot is shaky and Brooks has traditionally played him with a short leash, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be supplanted by a rookie in the rotation next season.
Robinson is another option here and he did spend some time on the Wizards’ NBA roster last season while on a two-way contract with the team. If he finds himself in that position again, he could compete for a rotation spot. Brown should be able to beat him out, but it’d still be a competition nonetheless.
Starter: John Wall
Backup(s): Tomas Satoransky, Austin Rivers
John Wall is obviously penciled in as the starter and Satoransky filled his role as the team’s backup quite admirably last season — especially in Wall’s elongated absence. Austin Rivers is more of a shooting guard, but will serve as the primary ball handler off the bench at times.
But things are at least interesting here. Brown is what the Wizards envision Satoransky being — a playmaking wing. Satoransky sees himself as a point guard almost exclusively. He’s made clear he’s willing to play minutes on the wing, but said it isn’t his strong suit. (By the way, that’s totally fine. He’s good at what he does.) But Brown and Sato have the same skillset and he’s almost a full eight years older than the rookie. The team might want to find Brown minutes, even if it’s just grooming him to fill that role.
But the reality of the situation is that Satoransky is proven and has experience with the team as the backup point. He had a .615 true shooting percentage last year with a usage rate of just 13.5 percent. He deserves to play more and shouldn’t be undercut by an 18-year-old rookie. Scott Brooks is going to trust him more than Brown next season and he should.
Starter: Bradley Beal
Backup: Austin Rivers
Rotation: Jodie Meeks
Brown doesn’t make sense here unless you’ve got shooters at every other position with him on the floor. That’s rarely going to be the case on this team with its shooting lacking outside of the wing positions.
Starter: Markieff Morris
Backup: Jeff Green
Rotation: Jason Smith
Brown would fit at power forward defensively if Jeff Green didn’t sign here. He’s a good screener and can make plays on short rolls. He’s also capable of finishing well inside and always seems to be in the right spots when rebounds fly around.
He played bigger in his time at Oregon and saw some minutes at power forward, but NBA size is a different beast. Plus, he’s not stretchy — his jumper will be a liability for a team that’s going to need floor spacing.
Brown is a good player and is going to be one for a long time. His talents and versatility at his position give him a ton of upside, but it just may not be utilized this year. He might spend some time down in the G-League, and that’s fine.
With the Capital City Go-Go right down the highway, Brown won’t miss much and the coaching staff will still be able to monitor his development. Either way, the Wizards have a player who they can be really excited about and that’s been a rare thing these last few offseasons.