Indiana Pacers rookie wing Kendall Brown made his NBA debut on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Brown, the 48th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, is signed to a two-way contract with the Pacers. He played for the team in the preseason and has suited up multiple times for Indiana’s G League affiliate team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. But Wednesday was the first appearance in a regular season NBA game.
He dealt with the classic jitters that come with finally achieving the dream of playing in the NBA. “A little bit. Everybody has a little jitters the first time,” Brown shared. “Felt good to be out there with the team.”
The rookie has played in four games in the G League this season and has averaged 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. His defense and athleticism have stood out with the Mad Ants.
Ironically, those were the skills he showed in his debut for the Pacers. With 1:39 to go, Brown checked into the game, and at that time he got a steal and dunked the ball on a fast break. He said that 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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“First bucket in college was a dunk. First bucket in the NBA was a dunk too. It’s just fitting,” 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 gold. On Wednesday, he got his first taste of NBA regular season action, and he made it count. If the Pacers continue to deal with injuries, Brown could be active for more games going forward.
Many within the organization have raved about Brown’s speed and athleticism since he was drafted. Indiana traded into the 2022 draft to acquire another selection before ultimately selecting the wing, so it’s logical to assume that the Pacers will try to give him additional development opportunities throughout the season. He has suited up often in the G League and has played well.
“It felt good to get on the court. And then the bucket too,” Brown said of his NBA debut. As the season progresses, the rookie could get more playing time.
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