With free agency looming in the offseason, Sterling Brown’s last chance to make a case to the Milwaukee Bucks could come in the remaining regular season seeding games.
Heading into the resumption of the season, the stakes are so high for the Milwaukee Bucks as a team that it’s easy to lose sight of just how much is on the line for many of the roster’s individuals too.
Those who face questions over their future in the upcoming offseason have already had to deal with uncertainty in the form of the league’s shifting schedule and the question marks hanging over just how much the league’s loss of income could deflate the salary cap heading into free agency.
Among the various Bucks for whom those questions are particularly relevant is third year wing Sterling Brown, who is scheduled to hit restricted free agency this offseason.
Brown’s career to date has been marked by team success on the court, but has had its share of ups and downs in terms of his individual performance levels and how he’s contributed from time to time.
The current season has certainly represented a case of Brown sliding on to a downward trajectory, as his minutes have dropped off and, most crucially, his shooting percentages have slipped to their lowest marks since the former SMU Mustang entered the NBA.
At times having shown himself to be a deadeye corner shooter, it’s essential that Brown combines his knack for rebounding and defense with positive shooting if he’s to earn minutes with the Bucks, but also if he’s to ensure that a long and successful NBA career still awaits him.
On that front, the remainder of the season stands to be decisive for Brown, and there’s a case to be made that he’ll be under real pressure to hit the ground running when the Bucks pick things back up with their first competitive game against the Celtics on Friday.
With no shortage of options in the backcourt and on the wings, minutes could become particularly difficult to come by for Brown once the postseason arrives and rotations potentially shrink in size.
Therefore, with Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton still working their way back having arrived late in Orlando due to COVID-19 and failed to compete in any of the Bucks’ three scrimmages, Brown’s best chance to play may well come in the final eight regular season games that the Bucks will play for seeding purposes.
It’s not impossible that Brown could end up playing a role in the Bucks’ postseason campaign beyond that, but if he really wants to make a case for a solid spot in the rotation, and perhaps a longer term future in Milwaukee beyond that, his performances over the next couple of weeks could really prove crucial.
That’s undoubtedly a significant added layer of pressure but, at his best, Brown has certainly proven himself to be capable of delivering. Now, he’ll just need to muster up that kind of form when it matters most of all.