Sterling Brown falls off the wagon before we cross the threshold into Milwaukee’s top-ten players. Still, his departure didn’t come before a head-turning run.
Brown was still in the mix of players after five previous cuts. Reaching this point after just his second year in the league proves, at least from the fanbase’s perspective, that his game merits valuable minutes in meaningful games.
Through October and November of last season, Brown played over fifteen minutes just twice. He capitalized, though, even without much of a means of doing so. He averaged ten points a game in those two appearances, showing an actual heartbeat in those appearances. It’s not what you would consider a memorable stat, but it’s something!
What that also did was show that he can produce when given ample court-time. That led into the most consistent stretch of his sophomore year; in December and January his minutes per game climbed to roughly 20 a night. It was then where he averaged around 7 points a game, while going scoreless only twice.
His final push to prominence came throughout March and April, where Brown came into his own after an unexpected yet timely uptick in minutes. With 23 to 30 minutes per game, he cranked the dials on his motor, increasing his volume and production all in one sitting. Brown averaged 13.2 and 10.8 points per game in those months, respectively. He broke his record for assists averaged throughout a month this March, then proceeded to outdo that number again in April.
Maybe Brown’s most important step taken last spring is that he upped his rebounding numbers from forgettable to something at least worthy of being mentioned in a box score. He gobbled up 5.2 rebounds per game in March and 4.8 in April, unveiling a more aggressive style on the glass while selling himself as a player capable of filling in for Khris Middleton as the primary small forward off the bench.
But not everyone sees his game from an improvement mindset. To analyze from a glass half empty viewpoint, then considering him the 10th best player on the roster means he’s still not a consistent name in the rotation. Milwaukee rarely stretches that deep when the stakes are high, and he’s yet to prove that he can backup from extended periods, as his consistency — or lack thereof — tends to nip him in the bud.
Statistically, his percentage from beyond the arc rode same hot-and-cold rollercoaster that plagues my short game on Sunday golf trips. In January he shot 45 percent, in February that number plummeted to 22 percent but then climbed back up to 46 percent in March. And during the playoffs last season, Brown contributed like a seasoned backup during Milwaukee’s first-round series with the Detroit Pistons. He proceeded to take two steps back in the Celtics series, as woeful shooting and all-around impact wasn’t as potent as it was just a few months ago.
Coach Mike Budenholzer will have the pick of the litter with his lineups next season and Brown will be in the heart of the minutes battle. If he can put it together for a whole season, running through every month with a high-running motor instead of the inconsistent one he fell back on last year, then fans may have kicked a future starter to the curb at #10. Here are the full results.
2019 Brew Hoop Roster Ranking
10. Sterling Brown
11. D.J. Wilson
12. Ersan Ilyasova
13. Donte DiVincenzo
14. Dragan Bender
15. Thanasis Antetokounmpo