Bucks’ Brown leading by example in NBA summer league

LAS VEGAS — It’s not often that a starting player in the NBA playoffs is asked to join the summer league squad in July like the Milwaukee Bucks assigned third-year player Sterling Brown. He doesn’t seem bothered by the duty at all and in fact Brown is diving into stands for loose balls and hustling like it was any other game.

With the recent departure of Malcolm Brogdon, who is now with Indiana after a sign-and-trade, Brown is preparing for an expected increased role this upcoming season.

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“I go out there, try to run the team, and go out and win. It’s leading by example,” Brown said. “I’m working on everything, my ball handling, coming off of screens, creating for myself and for my teammates, knocking down open shots consistently, getting to the basket — everything, really.

“Whatever the team needs. I play a few positions, the two-guard, the three, and I bring the ball up sometimes and run the team on offense and I’m going to do that, but I’m mainly looking at the two, three just to elevate my game.”

Being a veteran that just played a short time ago in the Eastern Conference finals and turning around and having to play in summer league is quite the task, but for Brown it’s an easy transition, in part because of the special relationship and respect he has for the Bucks’ summer league head coach, Darvin Ham.

“I love Darvin man, he always tells me what I can get better at,” Brown said. “He’s always right there for me. He’s one of my favorites on the team and coaches, period, because he’s been there before and knows what’s going on and gives me a different perspective.”

Ham and Brown have been communicating throughout every game this summer league, whether it’s Ham calling Brown over to the bench or an 80-foot holler throughout the summer games. Whatever Ham wants to run on offense or defense, the message goes directly to Brown first and mostly only him, and it’s working. Brown is averaging 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in three games in Las Vegas (he sat out Milwaukee’s fourth game against Team China).

“He does a plethora of things, rebounds, gets steals, deflections,” Ham said. “Shots will go in for him eventually, we’ve seen him make shots, we’re not so much concerned about that. But just his decision making and ability to attack each column in the stat-sheet … leadership is one of the things we challenged him to get better at this summer, and he’s been doing that.”