Atlantic Notes: Brown, Celtics, Raptors, Knicks, Lillard

Nets guard Bruce Brown has proven to be a key role player for a stacked Brooklyn club, write Alex Schiffer and Seth Partnow of The Athletic in a detailed examination. Brown is hitting his stride just in time for him to reach restricted free agency this summer.

Brown has proven invaluable as the starting shooting guard in the stead of the injured James Harden during Brooklyn’s series against the Bucks so far. On the floor, Brown has flashed significant positional versatility for the Nets, beyond just functioning as a shooting guard. His help as a short-rolling center in the pick-and-roll has unlocked a variety of offensive opportunities for his teammates.

“It kind of evolved in front of us,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said of Brown’s transition from defensive-oriented wing to frequent pick-and-roll center. “We asked him to pick at times because he can bring up a defender that was more favorable, and then he became surprisingly such a good roller and adept at it that we encouraged it and pushed for it.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • With new Celtics team president Brad Stevens now in charge of finding his own replacement as head coach, there are several possible internal hires he could consider, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Assistant coaches Jay Larranaga, Jerome Allen, Scott Morrison and Joe Mazzulla have all interviewed for the vacant head coaching gig so far, prompting Weiss to take a closer look at Boston’s in-house options.
  • This summer, there will be a variety of free agents who could serve as quality fits with the Raptors, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Shoring up the club’s frontcourt appears to be a top priority for Koreen, as big men Richaun Holmes, Jarrett Allen, and John Collins, Nerlens Noel and Daniel Theis rank highly on Koreen’s list of candidates.
  • After an encouraging return to the playoffs this season, the Knicks could be in the market for a point guard upgrade. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic considers whether Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard could be a realistic trade target for New York. Whether or not Portland would even be interested in dealing their All-NBA point guard for a trade package from the Knicks is another matter.
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