The Nets have needed some young defensive help on the perimeter, and got just that Monday when they traded for Bruce Brown.
Brooklyn shipped Dzanan Musa and one of their stockpile of 2021 second-round picks to the Detroit Pistons for Brown. The move was first reported by ESPN, and confirmed by The Post. It will become official at noon once the NBA’s moratorium on transactions is lifted.
With heretofore-injured superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming back this upcoming season, the Nets are expected to contend…and to score. Their backcourt defense needed a boost, and the 24-year-old Brown provides that.
A second-round pick in 2018, Brown played 132 games in his first two NBA seasons, and started 99 of them thanks largely to his work on that end of the court. While his averages of 8.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 34.4 percent shooting from deep are middling, he was the Pistons’ best perimeter defender.
Brown’s 3-point shooting was improved from his rookie campaign, as was his playmaking out of the pick-and-roll. And he comes at very little cost.
Musa, the No. 29 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, was taken as an offensive player but may well have been general manager Sean Marks’ only disappointing pick. The 6-9 wing never got any defined role with the Nets, and despite having talent his production and shot selection lagged behind his confidence.
Brooklyn will have far more need of Brown’s defense than Musa’s occasional scoring, averaging just 4.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 40 games last season.
Landry Shamet and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were the only rookies to log more minutes for a playoff team in 2018-19, when he also cracked the Top 20 in DRAYMOND, 538’s new stat to rate players’ defense.
Watching Brown’s yeoman work guarding NBA scoring champ James Harden – linked with the Nets as a potential third-star partner for Durant and Irving – should give an indicator of his prowess on that end of the court.
The Nets actually save money on the deal, with Brown making $1.7 million while Musa will earn $2 million and hold a $3.6 million team option in 2021-22. And while the second-round pick may actually be more valuable to the retooling Pistons, the Nets were flush with them.
Brooklyn had four second-rounders: from Atlanta (in the Allen Crabbe salary dump), from Indiana (in the Caris LeVert/Thad Young trade), from Phoenix (to take Jared Dudley’s contract), and Toronto (to swallow Greg Monroe’s bloated deal). The pick in Monday’s deal is the one they received from the Raptors, according to ESPN.
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