The careers of Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard have taken surprising turns since they left the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons drafted Kennard 12th overall, famously ahead of superstar Donovan Mitchell (oops) and eventually traded him after realizing that slow dudes who can’t defend and have the knees of a 55-year-old are probably not worth building around.
The Clippers didn’t get the memo and shelled out a boatload of money for Kennard to sit on their bench while the Pistons walked away with Saddiq Bey, laughing all the way.
Bruce Brown was drafted in the second round by the Detroit Pistons, 42nd overall, and was pretty much the Anti-Kennard, a hard-nosed and versatile defender who does all the little things that contribute to winning. He was an unfortunate casualty in the Saddiq Bey trade, one which Troy Weaver would probably like to amend if he could do it without losing Bey.
When the two were drafted, Kennard was the golden boy and Brown was an afterthought, a guy who would have to work to even make the roster.
Things have certainly changed.
Detroit Pistons: Bruce Brown has stepped up for the Nets, Kennard has sat down
Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown are just two of a crazy number of ex-Pistons who made or are making an impact in the NBA Playoffs.
Since leaving the Pistons, Bruce Brown has become a key role player for the Brooklyn Nets, even getting a start in the last game, in which he put up 16 points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
Brown has defended all over the floor, given the Nets a spark on the defensive end and is now one of their most important crunch time guys.
Kennard on the other hand has disappeared in the playoffs, not even playing in four of their nine games and really only having one impactful game. $16 million doesn’t buy what it used to.
Yes, he did score 18 points in a loss against Utah, but did you watch the game? The Jazz absolutely TORCHED Kennard again and again in the pick and roll, showing why being able to shoot the lights out isn’t the only skill you need to thrive in the NBA.
The Detroit Pistons are trying to build their roster more in the image of Brown than Kennard with hard-nosed and versatile defensive players like Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey and you can see why.
Guys like Kennard are nearly unplayable in the playoffs when teams can exploit mismatches against poor defenders, while Bruce Brown can make an impact on both ends just by playing defense, running the floor and hustling.
Who knew that an unknown taken in the 2nd round was going to be the more impactful player than the lottery pick out of Duke?