Detroit Pistons: Bruce Brown trade an indicator of looking forward

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Just a week before the free agency period began, some major trades started hitting the NBA. The Detroit Pistons have taken part early by trading Bruce Brown to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Dzanan Musa and a future pick.

The Detroit Pistons sent their evolving combo guard, Bruce Brown, to Brooklyn this week. He started 99 games for Detroit in two years with the franchise. While he entered the league as a shooting guard, he played significant minutes at the point guard spot last year.

Now, the Pistons have exchanged him for Dzanan Musa, who has played all of 49 games at minimal minutes, and a 2021 second-round pick. At the offset, opinions about the trade were mixed.

After all, Brown was a regular starter as of the COVID-19 shutdown last year, and he was one of the better defenders on an otherwise poor defensive team. Why swap him, seemingly just as he was coming into his own, for a player who has appeared in fewer than fifty games?

More from Detroit Jock City

The first factor is age. Although they are both products of the same draft (2018), Brown is 24 years old while Musa is only 21.

By the time the season is expected to start next month, Musa will still be younger than Brown was in his first Pistons game. This means he has a lot to learn, which is to be expected in a rebuilding organization.

The downside: Musa is a higher cap hit at $2 million compared to Brown’s $1.6 million, but the Pistons will have a favorable team option the year after that.

The other factor is the size factor. Brown’s role with the Pistons was undefined:  he was not a point guard by trade, yet he was thrust into that role his second year in Detroit. As a result, he was never fully able to flourish, and size played a part in this discrepancy.

At 6-foot-4, Brown is big for a point guard but small for the two. With Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk at 6-foot-7, Musa at 6-foot-9, and even Luke Kennard coming in at 6-foot-5, the Pistons are clearly looking to go bigger in their lineup.

While these two reasons are not altogether compelling, they refer only to the trade’s immediate repercussions. It is important to keep in mind the Pistons are not building for the present but for the future.

In 2018, the Pistons selected Brown with their own second-round pick, No. 42 overall. In Dzanan Musa, they are receiving a first-round pick (no. 29, thirteen spots earlier than Brown) and another second-round pick from the Raptors.

Based on the recent play of Toronto, this pick could end up somewhere in the mid-50s. Put simply, the Pistons turned one asset into two, making the trade much more justifiable.

The Pistons do not have a second-round pick this year, which somewhat delays their rebuilding plans. Next year, however, they already have two picks in the second round, and they just added a third in the Bruce Brown trade.

More than likely, not all of these will be used by Detroit in the draft. Instead, they are building a small stockpile, so expect to see at least one or two of them included in further trades.

Must Read. Detroit Pistons: Top 7 first-round options in the 2020 NBA Draft. light

Everyone knows the Detroit Pistons are starting the rebuilding process. As it seems so far, general manager Troy Weaver is not afraid to be aggressive on the market. By acquiring more and more trade pieces, he will have the means to make bigger moves as the rebuild progresses.