What will Timberwolves do with forward Troy Brown Jr.?

Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Minnesota Timberwolves ended the 2023 NBA Free Agency market, the team did not assume pre-negotiated options to continue the contractual relationships with previous players. It was a smart move, as the terms of those previous contracts were a bit of overpay where players were concerned.

And one such player, power forward Taurean Prince, found himself signing with a new team as a result. That unexpected signing for Prince was with the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that proved to be rather enamored with any NBA player who had previously played for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

But turnabout is fair play, and the Timberwolves were able to fill the void left by Prince’s departure by signing former Los Angeles Lakers forward Troy Brown Jr. So the question now becomes: Who is Troy Brown Jr. and what role will he play for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2023-24 NBA season?

Who are you? Who, who? Who, who?

Well, Troy Brown Jr. is a 6-foot-7 215-pound versatile veteran of five seasons in the NBA. He was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, playing three seasons for the Washington Wizards before single-season stops with the Chicago Bulls (1+) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1).

Brown is a player who was originally planned to fill a role of a 3-and-D, but over time expanded that role to cover stints as a power forward and as a shooting guard as well. He has an impressive wing span, a solid defensive presence, and an ever-improving accuracy from three-point range.

Troy Brown is a glue guy. That is, his range of skills allows him to slide into rotations at multiple positions, and give Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch a significantly larger number of options on any given night.

So not it comes down to how will the Timberwolves use Troy Brown Jr.? Well, let’s examine his stat line for the past two seasons:

2022-23 | 76 GP | 24.5 MPG | 7.1 PPG | 38.1 3P% | 4.1 RPG | 1.3 APG | 0.8 SPG | 0.2 BPG
2021-22 | 66 GP | 16.0 MPG | 4.3 PPG | 35.3 3P% | 3.1 RPG | 1.0 APG | 0.5 SPG | 0.1 BPG
That is pretty good for a 23-year-old.

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A more versatile defensive-oriented forward

As you can see, Brown Jr. brings a bit less offensive oomph to the basketball court than Taurean Prince (9.1 PPG) but has an entirely better ability to rebound (2.4 RPG). His overall usage may fall somewhere between his past two seasons, but I don’t expect him to suddenly be a bench warmer. Unlike a 29-year-old Prince, the 23-year-old Troy Brown Jr. has better days ahead of him in the NBA.

With that in mind, look for the Timberwolves to keep him active in the rotation, and perhaps use him at multiple positions to experiment with his best fits and roles. It seemed like Coach Finch spent much of his time trying to plug lineups complicated by injuries. Some of the challenges last season sprang from players being asked to learn new roles to fill the Timberwolves’ needs.

This season, the Timberwolves’ front office took notice, and have signed players who can easily adapt to whatever the Timberwolves need on any given night. Troy Brown Jr. fits the Timberwolves’ off-season needs by providing rebounding, perimeter defense, and a more accurate perimeter scoring ability.

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The Timberwolves need all three areas improved this season. Surprisingly, forward Troy Brown Jr. checks all three boxes.