The Portland Trail Blazers are in full-on tank and reload mode, giving rookie Greg Brown III a chance to shine as they play out the season
Watching rookie Greg Brown III has been one of the very few joys that has come along with following the Portland Trail Blazers this season. The 6’9″ forward was the 43rd pick in last year’s draft after spending one year at Texas and played in just 21 of Portland’s first 52 games
But the trade and tank frenzy that Blazers’ interim general manager Joe Cronin kicked off last week left coach Chauncey Billups with just nine available players and no choice but to give Brown some extended playing time over the last week.
After having cracked the 10-minute mark in just two games before February 4, Brown has logged an average of 17 minutes in the four games since, averaging 10.8 points and 4 rebounds while adding four steals and three blocks.
Those translate to per 36 minute averages of 22.4 points and 8.2 rebounds, which would put him in the Rookie of the Year conversation. And while it remains to be seen if he can keep up his mind-blowing energy level given a heavier load of minutes, Brown has no doubt earned an extended look in the waning weeks of this season.
Brown seems to operate at a speed twice that of anyone else on the court – a staggering observation given the athleticism of most NBA players – and seems to do so with an unbelievable level of body control.
From the moment he checks in, my eyes are fixed on Brown until he takes his seat on the bench again. And if the Blazers want to maintain any level of fan interest after trading four of their best players for hope and maybe, they’ll keep that seat as empty and cool as possible over the next 26 games.
With CJ McCollum in New Orleans, Norman Powell in Los Angeles, and Damian Lillard sidelined until further notice, electric moments in the Moda Center will be hard to come by. Brown provides them regularly and spectacularly.