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Troy Brown Jr. uses coronavirus shutdown to improve physically

The 20-year-old guard did what most of us didn’t: get in shape.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t ask Washington Wizards guard/forward Troy Brown Jr. what his favorite quarantine snack was.

While most of us were “busy” watching Netflix and rediscovering our love for fruit snacks, “TBJ” was getting in the best shape of his life.

No — seriously.

“I’m in the best shape of my life” is something we commonly hear NBA players say after a summer off, but Brown actually used the coronavirus shutdown as an opportunity to improve physically. During a Zoom call on Friday afternoon, Brown said that he’s down to just six percent body fat — the lowest percentage he’s been since he was drafted two years ago.

“For me, it’s been a good break,” Brown said. “I’ve been working on my body and stuff I wouldn’t normally have the time to work on.”

Improving physically has been just a part of his “off-season” growth.

Brown, who’s still only just 20 years old, caught the Wizards’ attention during the predraft process by drawing up a play — a few plays, actually — and showcasing his basketball IQ. When he wasn’t spending time working out over the past several months, Brown said he was busy learning the nuances of the game, “tightening up,” he said.

He’s done that by taking part in regular Zoom film sessions with his teammates. In a recent call, the team broke down games from their playoff appearances. Rui Hachimura, who also said he gained 10 pounds of muscle during the shutdown, has yet to play with John Wall, but recognized how different the team looked with the All-Star guard on the floor.

Likewise, the film sessions have exposed what the team already knew was their biggest issue: defense.

“We’ve been watching film together and talking to coaches, which has been great,” Hachimura said. “Defense is our weakness, but if we play good defense, we’ll have a great chance to make the playoffs.”

Playoffs or not, the Wizards will utilize the next eight-game stretch to assess the young talent on the roster.

Davis Bertans, who emerged as a go-to scoring option this season, decided to opt out of the Orlando bubble, which gives players like Brown and Hachimura an opportunity to reveal their development — to have more of a presence offensively than they’re accustomed to having.

Likewise, it will give the coaches a chance to see where each player fits and the roles they’re best suited to play.

This season, Scott Brooks has tinkered with Brown’s minutes — sometimes starting him, playing him off the bench, giving him spot minutes at point guard, and seeing how he plays off the ball.

Brown, who says he prefers to play point guard, isn’t too worried about the specifics.

“It doesn’t bother me whether I start or come off the bench,” Brown said. “Coach Brooks realized for me to be able to come off the bench, I’d have a higher role, and that helped us. For me, that’s no problem. I’ll do what I need to do in order for us to win.”