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Can Charlie Brown Jr. crack the crowded wing rotation?

Charlie Brown Jr. flashed as a defender during his brief NBA stint. Could the St. Joe’s product parlay that into more minutes in 2022-23?

2022 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Charlie Brown Jr.

Age: 25

Contract Status: Two-way contract for 2022-23; qualifying offer ($1.6 million) for 2023-24

Charlie Brown Jr. was a fun little story that popped up in the middle of last season. The St. Joe’s product started the 2021-22 season with the Delaware Blue Coats, before playing three games for the Dallas Mavericks in December. He was reacquired by the Coats, and was called up in January, where he played 19 games for the team he grew up rooting for.

Last year’s Sixers were very thin in terms of wing depth, so when Brown was given a chance to play real minutes, his combination of defense and athleticism were sorely needed. Now that the Sixers have bolstered their depth at that position by adding P.J. Tucker, Danuel House and De’Anthony Melton, is there going to be enough room for Brown to prove he’s an NBA player?

Brown had a pretty decent showing in Las Vegas this year at Summer League. He averaged 10.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in about 23 minutes of action. Where he really impressed, however, was on the defensive end. At 6-foot-6, Brown possesses the athleticism, body and instincts that make up an NBA level defender. Both in the Summer League and in Delaware last year, Brown was good for 1.5 steals per game.

He is also a solid rebounder for his height, pulling down 6.4 rebounds per game last year in Delaware. His ability to crash the glass was a breath of fresh air for last year’s Sixers, who struggled mightily rebounding the ball.

While Brown’s rebounding and defense are helpful NBA skillsets, there is still a lot of work to be done on the offensive end for him to be a viable NBA player. He is the Charmander to Matisse Thybulle’s Charizard, in that respect. While his slingshot-esque jumper is fascinating to watch, he has yet to get it to fall at a reasonable clip in the NBA. He also really struggled around the rim both last season and in Summer League, shooting just 33.3 percent from the field.

Season outlook: While a lot can change in training camp, Brown looks like he can be penciled in to one of the two two-way spots as the season starts. There will be competition for that spot however, as Isaiah Joe, Charles Bassey, Trevelin Queen, Julian Champagnie, and Michael Foster Jr. could all be in that mix. While he likely won't see a role bigger than this, Brown could be a very helpful player if there is another COVID outbreak midseason or an injury that leaves the Sixers’ roster thin.

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