Charlie Brown Jr. is good at causing heartache

Continuity has been at an all-time low for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2021-22.

Now granted, this is not just a problem in our beautiful city of brotherly love; the NBA has been hit by the Omicron variant to an incredible degree, with what looks like 50 players earning extended looks on 10-day contract calls.

These weird runs have given healthy teams the chance to take advantage of down haters, good 2020-21 teams catch chains of bad luck, and most importantly, opportunities for fringe guys to prove their worth and land. longer at the highest level of the game. .

Sitting decently well positioned at 25-17, the Philadelphia 76ers largely overcame their issues thanks to Joel Embiid’s MVP-caliber play (more on that here) and even found a good player of their own in Charlie Brown Jr., who continues to impress, whether it’s a 10-day deal, a two-way deal, or something bigger down the line. Why? Because CBJ knows how to make things harder for opposing players.

Charlie Brown Jr. does all the little things for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Charlie Brown Jr. is in the NBA right now because of his efforts.

A three-star recruit born in Philadelphia and educated at St. Thomas More School in Oakdale, Connecticut, Brown received just one Division 1 scholarship out of high school and quickly took the Atlantic 10 conference by storm. as a rookie with Phil Martelli’s St Joe Hawks.

And then Brown got hurt.

That’s right, after averaging 12.8 points and five rebounds as a complementary player on a very good Hawks team, Brown missed his true second season with a broken wrist and had to wait until 2018-19 to prove its value again.

Finally healthy, albeit on a team with far less pure talent, Brown led the A-10 in scoring to 19 points and looked like a legitimate candidate to hear his name called in the 2019 NBA draft. didn’t. despite hiring an agent and training through the association, Brown was ultimately overlooked on 60 straight selections, but again Brown put his head down and worked his way into the NBA via a two-way contract with the Hawks.

Then? Well, Brown ultimately wasn’t offered another contract in Atlanta, was signed and then waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves, then signed and waived by the OKC Thunder after getting a long-term contract, and eventually was signed and then canceled by the Dallas. Mavericks to a 10-day contract after starting the season with the Delaware Blue Coats.

Dizzying? Imagine how Brown must have felt, but now? Now those setbacks were just stoppages along his journey to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he found a home on a two-way deal.

Why? Say it with me: Effort.

On the court, Brown is a troublemaker. In just 53 minutes spread over five games in a red, white and blue uniform, Brown had four steals, a block and six points while playing good defense on and off the ball as a switchable athletic perimeter presence. Despite playing 61% of his minutes at shooting guard, Brown had nine total rebounds and proved to be a willing board breaker whenever he’s on the field, which is good. , because the Sixers are literally the worst rebounding team in the NBA. .

Is Brown a finished product? No. He’s yet to hit a 3 with his hometown team in six attempts after draining 40% of comparable shots in Delaware, but on a team lacking the athleticism and bigger wings that can compete with bigger smaller forwards, Brown is playing far better than his two-way contract would suggest; at an AAV of $2.61 million according to FiveThirtyEight to be exact.

As long as he continues to win opportunities on the pitch, there’s little reason to believe that Brown won’t keep making promises and putting in maximum effort no matter how many minutes he plays.

Objectively speaking, Charlie Brown Jr. will never become a starter for the Philadelphia 76ers. His offense is too inconsistent, and at 24 he’s not exactly a spring chicken, but in the NBA not every player has to be a star. Good teams need great scorers, snipers and downside playmakers to win games, sure, but they also need guys who put in the effort and come to work every day. , crush the boards and leave everything on the ground. Charlie Brown Jr. has firmly carved his way into the latter category and deserves a huge amount of credit for doing so.

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