Last offseason, the Lakers placed a focus on getting younger, quicker and more athletic. Troy Brown Jr. was a symbol of that, a young wing that didn’t have things work out for him at his previous stops and was looking for a chance to prove himself in Los Angeles.
The Lakers were betting low on Brown with a veteran’s minimum contract and he certainly produced well above his worth. Brown featured in 76 games in the regular season to go with a dozen playoff games, that alone proving him to be valuable enough for his deal.
Considering the contract he was signed to and the production he gave, it was a wholly successful season for TBJ, but is it enough for him to return to the Lakers?
How Was Their Season?
It’s hard to realistically expect a more successful season for a player who signed a veteran’s minimum contract than the one TBJ had. It wasn’t quite a career year for Brown, but it wasn’t far off.
Brown averaged 7.1 points per game, the second-highest mark of his career. The 76 games played are the most in his career and the 38.1% shot from the 3-point line is very safely his most efficient season from range.
He was such a positive on the season that Brown started 45 games during the regular season after having started just 39 in his career before this season. Some of that is more of an indication of how poor the Lakers were at the start of the season, but it also shouldn’t take away from what Brown did.
The Lakers needed size on the wing and shooting and Brow provided both of those in spades. And no matter how bad the Lakers may have been before the trade deadline, Brown kept his spot in the rotation after the deadline as well, showing how productive he was.
Ultimately, though, the playoffs showed some of his limitations still. His inability to keep up defensively led to him falling out of the rotation entirely the deeper into the playoffs the Lakers got. But, again, considering he was a veteran’s minimum player, having limitations that keep you out of playoff rotations isn’t necessarily a bad or unexpected thing.
Should the Lakers Bring Him Back?
An important thing to remember about TBJ is that he is only 23 years old. He’ll turn 24 this offseason, but this season was his fifth in the NBA. The only players on the roster this season younger than him were Cole Swider, Scotty Pippen Jr., Jarred Vanderbilt and Max Christie.
Perhaps that changes how TBJ is viewed. Is he part of the young core worth keeping around, if framed in that light? With Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Vanderbilt and Christie likely to be on the roster next season, should TBJ be retained?
He gained some very valuable experience this season and made good on some of the potential he flashed. Even if he isn’t a Laker next season, he will be in the NBA and likely on a bigger payday than a veteran’s minimum.
Do you think they will return?
That last sentence will likely go a long way in determining whether TBJ returns next season. If he’s available on another veteran’s minimum, the Lakers would likely chomp at the bit to have him back.
But TBJ earned himself a bigger contract and the Lakers will have to determine if they want to use one of their exceptions to sign him. The Lakers are going to have a bit of a tight rope to walk in free agency and while TBJ proved to be valuable, I don’t know that he will be a top choice for the Lakers to sue something like their bi-annual exception or taxpayer mid-level exception.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he returns, but it seems like TBJ might go somewhere else and cash in on his breakout season.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.