Lorenzo Brown used the opportunity the Toronto Raptors gave him and turned it into a sustained shot at sticking in the NBA. According to a report from Shams Charania, Brown will sign a one-year deal to return to the Raptors for 2018-19. Raptors Republic has learned that Brown’s deal is only partially guaranteed.
With the team set to play two point guards plenty and Brown and Delon Wright both capable of sliding to the shooting guard position, the Raptors will have ample depth at a position they’ve always valued depth at quite highly. This also provides some depth if a point guard were to be moved in another deal at some point this summer. No idea what you might speculate on from that, though.
The Raptors had Brown on their roster as a two-way player for the 2017-18 season, and the savvy veteran point guard earned himself G League Most Valuable Player honors and a conversion of his contract to an NBA deal at the end of the season so that he would be playoff eligible. In converting him, the Raptors also rendered him an unrestricted free agent this summer, and after four partial NBA seasons and five in the G League, it’s great to see Brown make good on the grind and land a guaranteed deal here. He’s a strong fit for the organization’s culture and grew as a leader last summer in the same L.A. workouts he’s likely to pick up with again this offseason, featuring the tam’s younger players.
The 27-year-old Brown appeared in 14 games for the Raptors, totaling 139 minutes, and got into four playoff games. As a Raptor, Brown owned a strong small-sample net rating and impressed the team with his decision-making and his defense. A 6-foot-5 and with sound instincts and a good motor, Brown can work as sort of a Wright Lite on the defensive end, slithering around screens and using his length to keep point guards in front of him. In 77 career NBA games, Brown has averaged 3.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, two assists, and 0.6 steals, and while he hasn’t shot the ball well – a 41.9 true-shooting percentage – those are noisy small samples and he’s shown he can be more effective in the G League. Statistically, Brown projects as roughly replacement level by Player Impact Plus-Minus, but the Raptors think his 3-point shot is better than the numbers, skewed by a heavy percentage of “grenade” threes when asked to make something late in the clock, would suggest, which would push his game a little higher. Without that shot, his upside is limited to that of a third point guard, and if it comes along he has enough tools on both ends of the floor – as a ball-handler who can get to the rim and spray out to teammates and as a solid on- and off-ball defender – that he could be leaned on for more.
This past season, Brown took on an immense role for the 905, leading the G League in assist percentage and ranking in the 91st percentile for individual offense, per Synergy Sports. He won’t be eligible to provide Raptors 905 depth without agreeing to an assignment, but this is an NBA move and not a 905 move, anyway. After five tours of the G League and four partial NBA seasons, Brown finally has an NBA home.
This pushes the Raptors roster to 13, leaving them with at least one spot to fill for the regular season, plus their two two-way slots and possibly a 15th man. Teams can have up to 20 players on the roster until the start oft he regular season, so it’s possible a handful of names are brought in to compete for those final spots.