Larry Brown's Young Players in the 2000s

Let's take a look at the rookies and second year players Larry Brown has coached this decade. I'll list the teams, the players, and their minutes per game. Guys who went on to reasonably decent role player NBA careers or better are italicized.

This ignores Games Played, and obviously, some guys were blocked by legit starters, but... well... draw your own conclusions. All numbers are from the invaluable


99-00 76ers -- Ira Bowman (1.8), Larry Hughes (20.4), Jumaine Jones (4.2), Todd MacCulloch (9.4), Nazr Mohammed (6.8)

00-01 76ers -- Raja Bell (6.0), Rodney Buford (12.2), Jumaine Jones (13.3), Todd MacCulloch (9.5), Pepe Sanchez (4.8)

01-02 76ers -- Raja Bell (12.0), Damone Brown (3.9), Speedy Claxton (22.8), Samuel Dalembert (5.2), Alvin Jones (5.5), Jabari Smith (10.0)

02-03 76ers -- Efthimi Rentzias (4.1), John Salmons (7.9), Kenny Satterfield (4.8)

03-04 Pistons -- Darko Milicic (4.7), Mehmet Okur (22.3), Tayshaun Prince (32.9)

04-05 Pistons -- Carlos Delfino (15.3), Ronald Dupree (10.0), Horace Jenkins (6.9), Darko Milicic (6.9), Smush Parker (10.0)

05-06 Knicks -- Trevor Ariza (19.7), Jackie Butler (13.5), Channing Frye (24.2), David Lee (16.9), Nate Robinson (21.4), Ime Udoka (14.3)


The first major caveat of a backwards-looking glance like this is that we don't know if Brown's methods helped or hurt anyone. Maybe John Salmons really did need to be eased into the rotation at just under 8 minutes per game, and that was the stepping stone experience he needed. Maybe Efthimi Rentzias was railroaded by Brown's total shutdown, and he's selling insurance in Greece because no one else would give him a chance after that.

So, should we be worried by the fact that not a single star has emerged from Larry Brown's influence, with the exception, perhaps, of Tayshaun Prince?

What I see from this list is that Brown will play the guys he thinks are going to help him immediately, and if a guy can't, he'll sit until he's older. That kills the guys whose ceilings are "decent starter". Todd MacCulloch was no great shakes, but he started at center for back to back NBA Finals teams. Samuel Dalembert won't blow you away with his game, but the year after Brown left, he missed the entire season on the injured list, then the next year began starting and has started at center in Philly ever since.

I get the distinct sense it's a very college-hoops-oriented approach: freshmen and sophomores have a higher bar to clear to prove they should play over juniors and seniors. Of course, in the NBA, young players are paid far below their free market value (as are superstars), so it behooves teams to get production from young players while they're cheap instead of sitting them until they reach their qualifying offer years, when their salaries will come more in line with their potential production.

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