At the start of the season, not much was expected from Sterling brown, given the glut of guards and forwards on the roster. But when late season injuries beset other rotation players, particularly Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell, Brown was given a chance to show his wares.
However, inconsistent play marked his second season and Brown could not take advantage of the many opportunities to secure his spot on the playoff rotation.
In a game against the Hawks last March 31, the Bucks benched most of their regulars and rolled out a starting lineup of Tim Frazier, Bonzie Colson, DJ Wilson, Brook Lopez along with Brown. Brown showed the Bucks what he can do with bigger minutes as he posted an impressive stat line of 27 points 9 rebounds 3 assists and 1 block. He played over 33 minutes and played great team and individual defense. Despite the eventual 1-point loss, Brown’s potential 3 and D role for the Bucks was in full display that night.
While Sterling Brown improved his overall 3-pt field goal shooting to 36%, up from 35% a year before, Brown still has a ways to go before being considered a reliable shooter. His percentage was buoyed by his 55% showing from the corners. However, his 3-ball was terrible from everywhere else. Likewise, Brown has not gotten away from his propensity of throwing pump fakes despite being open, which often results in a tougher shot as his defenders are often able to recover better.
Overall, Brown had a decent season which could have been much better had he been able to take advantage of his playing time. His defense remained reliable, and can become a huge strength moving forward if he learns to be more disciplined and limits his tendency to foul. His rebounding instincts was likewise an underrated aspect of his game as he showed continued improvement throughout the season. Brown’s handles and decision-making were generally bad but most of his issues are correctible moving forward.
Brown remains to be a flawed player who could still vastly improve with continued coaching from Coach Bud’s staff.
Role Next Season: Back up forward; 3 and D defensive specialist
The Bucks’ recent playoff performance showed the Bucks that they were unable to surround Giannis with many consistent shooters. Another aspect missing lacking in their rotation were reliable players who could guard the bigger wings like Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam. As Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon wore down trying to guard Kawhi, the Bucks simply ran out of bodies to throw against him.
If Brown is able to work on his body this offseason, he can be that 3rd wing defender that the Bucks can use as part of the regular rotation. Possessing a lively 6’6 body and good defensive instincts, Brown has the potential to be the perfect back-up to Middleton at the small forward spot. Brown has that unique quality, in that he is athletic enough to effectively chase quick wings as well as strong enough to handle smallball 4s on switches.
With an expiring contract, Brown knows that in order to truly cement his spot with the Bucks, he needs to be an absolute knock-down artist from beyond the arc next season. If Brown can improve his decision-making, ball-handling and is able to shoot more than 40% percent from 3, he will help the Bucks go from an Eastern powerhouse to one of the true championship favorites.