Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri landed himself a gem when he signed Lorenzo Brown to an NBA two-way contract this season. The big point guard has been tearing up the G League with three 30 point games since the start of December and, in the process, has tied the 905 franchise record for assists (15) and points (36, tied with Norman Powell).
“I believe I’m an NBA guy right now,” Brown told Pro Bball Report and it’s a statement that’s getting hard to argue with.
In the 905’s opening G League Showcase game on Thursday, Brown put up a double-double 24 points and 12 assists in 35 minutes at noon. Then he sprinted down to the Air Canada Centre to play 19 minutes in the Raptors rout of the Cavaliers recording 6 points and 5 assists.
Brown has been playing like an All-Star at the G League level, but it’s been his impact with the Raptors in the NBA that deserves another look.
As a third string injury replacement point guard with the Raptors, Brown is filling a very different role at the NBA level, but whenever he gets more than a couple of minutes, he makes an impact.
“I have a role to play,” Brown said. “I have a role to play up there and I have a role to play here. I feel I am more aggressive down here and when the time comes to be more aggressive up there I’ll take that approach.”
With the big club, Brown’s approach is conservative. He plays defense and looks to limit mistakes and it’s working. He’s been a “plus” +/- player in each of the five games where he’s got more than a couple of minutes, a +38 in 69 minutes of action.
He may not be getting noticed by the causal fan, but the Raptors lead grows with him on the court. His focus on defense has been effective.
“That’s been my focus to tell you the truth,” Brown said. “I am a great defender when I put my mind to it. (But) when that time comes for me to be aggressive at the offensive end, I’ll show it. Right now my goal is to bring energy to the team and defend.
“(My role is) to be a great teammate.”
It’s hard for his teammates on the big club to incorporate him into the offense. They just don’t have the opportunity to play with him that much and practice minutes with guys not in the regular rotation is really hard to find.
However, even with the lack of familiarity sliding this solid scorer to the fifth option on offense, head coach Dwane Casey can leave him on the court for extended minutes because he fits on defense.
“I’m just waiting on my opportunity man,” Brown said.
That opportunity is going to come. If the Raptors make a move to trade one of their guards, Brown has shown he can be effective as a third string guard with the Raptors right now and there are always NBA teams looking for a big guard that can play defense and has the potential to be a big time scorer if given the chance.