Indiana Pacers rookie winger Kendall Brown made his NBA debut Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Brown, the 48th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, has signed a two-way contract with the Pacers. He played for the team in the preseason and has played several times for Indiana’s G-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. But Wednesday was the first appearance in an NBA regular-season game.
He addressed the classic tremors that come with finally pursuing the dream of playing in the NBA. “A little bit. Everyone has a little bit of jitters the first time,” Brown shared. “It felt good to be out there with the team.”
The rookie has played four G League games this season, averaging 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. His defense and athleticism have excelled with the Mad Ants.
Ironically, those were the skills he showed on his debut for the Pacers. With 1:39 left, Brown checked into the game, and during that time he got a steal and dunked the ball on a quick break. He said he didn’t want to force a bad shot, but he didn’t have to. His transition dunk was as easy as they come.
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“The first bucket in college was a dunk. The first bucket in the NBA was a dunk too. It just fits,” Brown, who attended the University of Baylor, said after the game.
The rookie averaged 3.5 points and 1.0 assists per game during four preseason appearances for the Blue and Golds. On Wednesday, he got his first taste of NBA regular-season action, and he capitalized on it. If the Pacers continue to struggle with injuries, Brown could be active for more games in the future.
Many within the organization have raved about Brown’s speed and athleticism since his draft. Indiana traded the 2022 draft to earn another pick before eventually picking the wing. So it’s logical to assume the Pacers will try to give him additional development opportunities throughout the season. He has featured many times in the G-League and played well.
“It felt good to come onto the pitch. And then the bucket,” Brown said of his NBA debut. As the season progresses, the rookie could get more playing time.
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