One of the awesome storylines this NBA season has been the additional opportunities that have been available for guys keeping their NBA dream alive. While you never want to see so many guys contracting Covid, the hardship deals that the NBA implemented have opened the door for so many young prospects.
With Tyrese Maxey, Jaden Springer, and Paul Reed all in COVID Health and Safety protocols, the Sixers signed Blue Coats forwards’ Braxton Key and Charlie Brown Jr. to 10-day contracts.
During the Sixers’ recent win over the Spurs, Charlie Brown Jr. was given his first minutes as a member of the team, and he made sure to capitalize on the moment. With just over 3 minutes to play in the first quarter, Charlie Brown Jr. scored his first (of hopefully many) buckets with the Sixers and effectively made the Wells Fargo Center explode.
Growing up in Northeast Philly, Charlie Brown Jr. says he went to Sixers games all the time. He attended Imhotep Institute Charter High School for the first two years of high school before transferring to George Washington High School. Brown was named the MVP of the Philadelphia Public League’s B Division before transferring to St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Connecticut, for his final prep year.
Following his high school experience, Brown Jr. committed to return to Philly and to play his college career at Saint Joe’s. His freshman year, the hometown kid burst onto the scene, averaging 12.8 points and 5 rebounds per game. He also shot 38.4% on 6 attempts per game behind the three-point arc. After being named to the third-team all-conference team prior to his sophomore year, Brown broke his wrist during the preseason, forcing him to take a medical redshirt year.
Charlie Brown Jr. picked up right where he left off once he returned from his injury, leading the Atlantic 10 with 19 points per game as well as 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists. At the end of the season, the wing scorer was named second-team All-Atlantic 10 and first-team All-Big 5. Scoring over 1000 points in his two seasons at Saint Joe’s, Brown Jr. elected to forego his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the NBA draft.
After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft, Brown Jr. agreed to a two-way contract with the Atlanta Hawks. The Saint Joe’s product got in 10 games with the Hawks, where he averaged 2 points per game in his 4 minutes of play. Since this time, he has spent time with the Timberwolves, the Thunder, and most recently, the Dallas Mavs as he signed a hardship deal shortly before this contract with the Sixers. He also has spent some time in the G-League, where he earned these opportunities.
During his time with the Delaware Blue Coats this season, Brown Jr. has averaged 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.8 steals during his 30 minutes of play. This makes him the third-leading scorer on the team behind Paul Reed and Shaq Harrison. Brown Jr. also knocks down three-pointers at a 38.9% rate on 6.5 attempts per game. The Blue Coats look to Brown to be a key member of the team, and he also has an infectious energy that many of his teammates speak highly of.
Feel-good story aside, there is a lot to like about Charlie Brown Jr.’s game. He stands 6’6 and flashes a willing trigger on offense while being incredibly active on the defensive end. Doc Rivers pointed to his active, hands-on defense as the main motivation for giving him the trial with the Sixers team, and Brown backed this up by tallying 2 steals and a block in his debut with the team. In addition, the swingman also added 3 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assists during his 12 minutes of play.
While Tyler Johnson impressed during his 10-day stint with the Sixers, there simply wasn’t a roster spot available for him. This is a somewhat different situation for Charlie Brown Jr. as he is already in the Sixers organization. He has a unique shot where he catapults it from beyond his head, similar to an archer. It is awesome to see the 24-year-old taking advantage of the opportunity, and this could open the door for him even further in the future.
As it currently stands, it is a great sign that the Sixers are showing their belief in Brown. Next year will be the final year he is eligible for a two-way contract, and it seems pretty likely the Sixers are eyeing him for this slot. In the short term, Brown only has a few more days left on his 10-day contract for now, but the Sixers should make their best effort to make sure this is not the last time he puts on a Sixers uniform.