Markel Brown was selected 44th overall in the second round of last year’s draft. While he’s rode the bench most of the season, he has recently been moved into the starting lineup. Is this the right move for Brown and the Brooklyn Nets?
Markel Brown shows promise. The 6’3″ shooting guard from Oklahoma State only recently turned 23-years-old and looks to have a bright NBA future ahead of him. Brown has already shown flashes of solid play and the Nets hope to develop the second-round pick into an integral part of their future.
However, the decision to start Brown in recent games is questionable. This wasn’t a case of a prominent role player making an easy transition into the starting lineup, as Brown only played in 18 games this season. Brown averaged just over 3 points per game off the bench this season. More playing time was definitely warranted for one of the Nets younger players, but a move to the starting lineup may have been premature.
In the two games Brown has started, he’s averaged 9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game, including a double-double in his first career start. On paper, these numbers are pretty solid, but Brown’s efficiency on the court is his biggest problem. First of all, this is a rare case where Brown’s per-36 minutes minutes stats would actually be lower than his actual stats, due to an insane amount of minutes he’s been thrown on the court in his first two starts.
Additionally, his shooting percentages have left much to be desired. Brown has shot 33% from the field when starting, just under his season average of 36%. Brown also missed all six of his three point attempts in this span, contributing to his 21% mark from deep on the season.
Brown is a bright young player, and he’s shown flashes of brilliance, such as this 360 dunk that few players, let alone rookies, would ever attempt in-game.
A four block, two steal effort against the Denver Nuggets also showed Brown can contribute on defense, though these numbers came in 45 minutes on the court.
This raises the ultimate question, why did Brown go from playing a couple minutes every few nights to playing 45 minutes in a regulation game? Overexposure often hurts more than it helps, and coach Lionel Hollins seems to be forcing Brown into the thick of things.
Ideally, Brown would’ve slowly been given more minutes, and in a starting situation, would’ve played close to half the game. Instead, a player sitting out more games due to coach’s decision than he’s suited up for this season, Brown played all but three minutes in his first career start.
Brown’s play is already respectable on the court and he continues to grow in his rookie campaign. His situation definitely warrants more playing time, and he should probably be playing in every game. However, Brown should not yet be in the starting lineup and definitely should not be playing 45 minutes in one game.