Troy Brown Jr, Jordan McRae Proving They Should’ve Been Playing All Along

Washington Wizards Troy Brown Jr (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Troy Brown Jr (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards split their four-game trip out west 2-2 with wins over the Suns and Nuggets. For that they can thanks two guys who were barely playing just a couple months ago. 

The Washington Wizards have never lost a game when Troy Brown Jr is their leading scorer.

Granted, that’s only happened once—in last night’s win over the Denver Nuggets—but it’s still true. Coming off what was a career-high 15 points in the Wizards’ loss to the Utah Jazz, Brown led the Wizards to a win over the West’s second-best record with a career-high 24 points.

Brown was the only Wizard to make multiple threes last night and for a stretch, he just couldn’t  miss. He started the night 5/5 from deep, and finished 5/7 after a few heat checks. Can you blame him?

The rest of the team was just 1/17 from behind the arc.

With every additional game, Brown is becoming more confident and more comfortable. Through Washington’s first 60 games, Brown played in just 30 and averaged barely over 7 minutes. Recently, though, he’s played in 17 consecutive contests, averaging just under 22 minutes. His four highest scoring performances all came in the month of March. He’s even cracked the starting lineup these last six games.

With back-to-back career highs, it looks like Brown is stepping into his larger role quite well. Things look bright for his last four games this season…and beyond.

McRae Makes Most of Minutes

But Brown wasn’t the only oft-unseen Wizard who impressed last night and throughout the road trip. G-League sensation and walking bucket Jordan McRae has finally cracked the rotation now that the Wizards’ playoff hopes are dead. And he’s looked great.

After playing in just 20 of the team’s first 73 games, McRae has played in all of the past five, averaging just over 20 minutes in each. In the Wizards’ win over the Phoenix Suns, McRae dropped 21 points while shooting 80% from the field. In just 24 minutes off the bench, McRae’s 21 was the Wizards’ third highest point total behind Bradley Beal (28) and Jabari Parker (28).

The scoring wasn’t as impressive last night against Denver, but in the win, McRae had a full stat sheet: seven points, six rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block, +15.

It’s About Time…

So what took so long with these two? Where have they been and why hasn’t it been on the floor for the Wizards?

They’ve mostly been in the G-League or on the end of the bench. When the Wizards drafted Brown, it was apparent he wouldn’t be a day-one contributor. But considering the injuries on this team, you would think he’d have become part of the rotation before March.

Likewise, McRae’s consistent absence has been a bit puzzling. The man has DOMINATED the G-League all year (averaging 30.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists) and shown impressive flashes at the NBA level when given the chance. He just hasn’t had many chances this season. For a team that struggled offensively (at least before Parker and Bobby Portis showed up), McRae would’ve been a great ball handler and scoring option off the bench. Plus he could have lightened Beal’s mammoth load, as well.

Next. Bradley Beal caught between two generations of shooting guards. dark

Either way, we’re seeing what could’ve been with these guys if Washington had just given them a chance a bit earlier in the season. Maybe if they’d have played and progressed when things mattered, the playoffs might not be out of reach. We’ll never know for sure.

Brown is one of the few that will definitely be back next year. McRae may not be. He’ll have suitors and the Wizards haven’t seemed interested in him all year. It’d come as no surprise if he was getting buckets off the bench for another NBA team next year. And the Wizards will be kicking themselves.