- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Throughout his rookie campaign, forward Troy Brown hasn’t seen a lot of playing time. The 19-year-old first-rounder is buried on the Wizards’ depth chart, appearing in only 23 of 45 games this season.

But in Sunday’s loss against the Toronto Raptors, Brown saw 10 minutes of action — taking over the team’s backup point guard role. And the next game, in Thursday’s win against the New York Knicks, Brown played nine minutes. 

Is it a sign he’s finally cracked the rotation? Not exactly.

Coach Scott Brooks has been non-committal regarding Brown’s playing time, repeating a variation of the same answer.

When Brown does take the court for extended stretches — like when he played 18 minutes last week against the Philadelphia 76ers — it’s often been in blowouts or when the Wizards have been shorthanded.

“He just has to keep getting better,” Brooks said earlier this week. “There’s not going to be a lot of minutes. It’s just the way it is. We have a lot of good players that are playing well at his position.”

This year, entering Thursday’s game, there have been 30 other drafted rookies in the NBA this season who have played more than Brown, the 15th overall pick out of Oregon. Brown has played a total of 159 minutes — trailing even second-rounders like Charlotte’s Devontae Graham, Brooklyn’s Rodions Kurucs and New York’s Mitchell Robinson.

Of the 14 players drafted ahead of him, only two — the Clippers’ Jerome Robinson and the Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. have seen less playing time. Porter, though, is out with a back injury and has yet to play this season, while Robinson is on a deep Clippers team that’s currently fourth in the Western Conference.

Brooks said Brown’s lack of playing time is a mixture of depth and the rookie needing to still develop his game.

The Wizards desperately want to make the playoffs and they’re still in the hunt, only trailing the eigth seed by two games. Brooks has relied on veterans Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green and Sam Dekker ahead of Brown.

Still, the Wizards want Brown to develop — which is why the team has repeatedly sent him to the G-League in order to get practice and playing time with the Capital City Go-Go. In the G-League, Brown is averaging 16.5 points in 34.5 minutes per game in eight contests this year.

Brown doesn’t mind going back and forth. He said “it’s good” to stay in shape and keep playing basketball.

As for his NBA minutes, the Wizards haven’t just stuck Brown at small forward. Brown is also comfortable at point guard, a position he played in high school.

Before the season, the Wizards stressed the need to have multiple ball-handlers on the court, so they would like to see Brown excel at playmaking.

“I feel like when I focused on the game instead of what I do personally, I play basketball well,” Brown said. “It helps me succeed and stuff like that. At that point, it’s just going out there and doing what the team needs me to do.”

Brown is developing, Brooks said. 

“He’s just going to have to be patient and keep working on his game and meet with our coaches and work with our coaches and watch film,” Brooks said. “That’s how you improve a lot, a lot of times as a young player in this league.”



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