Bruce Brown Signs With Indiana: Does This Move the Needle for the Pacers?

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
Bruce Brown Signs With Indiana: Does This Move the Needle for the Pacers?

After finishing one spot shy of the Eastern Conference play-in game last season, the Indiana Pacers are adding some playoff experience in 2023-24, signing Bruce Brown Jr. to a two-year, $45 million contract.

Indiana made Brown a top priority, with ESPN reporting the signing on the first day of NBA free agency. That marked the first of three major moves from Indiana, with the Tyrese Haliburton extension and Obi Toppin trade coming shortly after Brown's signing.

Can Haliburton Unlock Brown?

Brown exploded onto the scene with the Denver Nuggets last season, putting up career numbers across the board. During the regular season, the 6'4" wing averaged 11.5 points on 48.0% shooting. Brown appeared in 80 games, making 31 starts for the Western Conference's No. 1 seed.

He really took off in the playoffs -- where he averaged 26.6 minutes per game off Denver's bench. During the Nuggets' championship run, Brown upped his scoring to 12.0 points per game while racking up the third-best defensive rating (107.6) of the postseason.

Because Brown isn't an individual creator, his eye-popping advanced stats can largely be attributed to playing with Nikola Jokic. During the playoffs, Brown ranked fifth in overall net rating -- behind four other Nuggets.

However, he moves from one of the league's best playmakers in Jokic to another in Haliburton. Haliburton (47.6%) was the only player to have a higher assist rate than Jokic (46.6%) last season.

Leaving Jokic is going to hurt as Brown ranked in the top 10 in postseason effective field goal percentage (56.3%) and true shooting percentage (60.7%) -- taking full advantage of Jokic's keen eye. Indiana is banking on Brown being able to replicate that with Haliburton. After finishing second in the NBA with 10.4 assists per game last year, Haliburton should generate a ton of open looks for Brown.

This is a great fit for both parties as Brown will slide right into Indiana's lineup as a versatile defender and efficient shooter. His ability to impact the game without the ball is a great match with Indiana's young guards. He'll also serve as a winning presence on a team that is trying to build into an Eastern Conference playoff squad.

Betting Odds Impact

The Pacers' signing of Brown coupled with the Haliburton extension and Toppin trade have cut Indiana's odds down tremendously. Prior to free agency, Indiana was +50000 to win it all. At the time of this publication, they're down to +35000, per the NBA Finals odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Despite the massive odds movement, the Pacers still have some of the longest odds to win the Finals. They went from being tied for the longest odds to being tied for the fourth-longest -- in line with the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets.

So, while Brown and Toppin have improved Indiana's chances, the Pacers still a major longshot in 2023-24.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.