The Indiana Pacers officially signed Bruce Brown Jr. to his 2-year, $45 million contract on Thursday, and held a brief press conference introducing him to Indiana. Brown was one of the most coveted free-agents of the offseason, and he chose to join the Pacers over other bigger-market teams–notably the New York Knicks.
Brown had reported interest from several teams, including the Lakers and Mavericks, but ultimately found a home in Indiana. He took two calls when free-agency started–one from the Knicks and one from the Pacers. Brown mentioned he had other calls scheduled, but he didn’t make it past Indiana. Money was likely a factor in his decision as other interested teams did not have the cap space to sign Brown that the Pacers did, but Brown also cited his fit with the Pacers as a major reason for his signing.
“I just think it’s a perfect fit,” Brown began in his press conference on Thursday, “just getting out in transition and being a young team, scoring the ball.” Brown is one of the NBA’s most efficient players in transition, which fits well with Indiana’s high-paced offense.
When asked how he sees himself impacting this Pacers team Brown said, “I think just affecting the game in different ways. It’s not always going to be scoring every night. I might be getting a clutch rebound, hitting clutch free throws. Just doing the little things out there.” All-star guard Tyrese Haliburton even told Brown he’d be a perfect fit on both ends of the floor.
Brown expanded on his prowess as a defender stating, “I’m a defender. That’s how I made my name in this league. [The Pacers] need me to do that. They need me to fit in and play that role, and I think I’m perfect for that.” The addition of Bruce Brown stands to bolster the Pacers’ defense after ranking just 26th in defensive rating last season (NBA).
The blend of a scrappy defense and efficient transition game will make the Indiana Pacers one of the most exciting teams in the NBA next season.
“If we can continue to build that fast-paced team and become a better defensive team, hold each other a little bit more accountable on that side, well then we can make big jumps potentially,” Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers President of Basketball Operations began, “the thing with Bruce that excites me the most is he’ll do that. He’ll run, he’ll get out in transition, he’ll fly around and make plays, but he also does a lot of dirty work. He’ll dive on loose balls and he’ll set the hard screens.”
Brown brings a winning mentality to Indiana, and plans to contribute to the construction of a winning culture. “We’ve got a deep team and we’ve got something to prove,” Brown said of the Pacers’ locker room. There’s no doubt that they’ll turn some heads this season.