By Madisen Carter
Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward, Greg Brown III, recently finished his rookie year in the NBA, and he is already back in the gym working on his craft. Brown has been in Santa Barbara with Unlimited Potential Basketball’s Coach Packie Turner getting better in his game and preparing for his second year in the league.
Brown was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft to the Portland Trail Blazers From the University of Texas at Austin. During the 2021-22 season, Brown’s name circulated due to his explosive energy and dunks. The Trail Blazers’ twitter account made sure to highlight every posterized dunk and show their appreciation for the positive energy that came from the rookie.
At the beginning of the season Brown was not on the court as much, but due to injuries on the team, including superstar Damian Lillard, he was able to receive more playing time as the season moved forward. On March 31st, he started in his first game against the New Orleans Pelicans scoring a total nine points swishing in all three 3-point attempts. He also had three rebounds, three assists and one block on the night.
“Honestly my rookie year was a wild ride because the season wasn't planned on going that way, and I got a bunch of playing time at the end of the year, but I'm overall grateful for that because it really helped me see the game in a different way,” Brown said.
While playing in 48 games and averaging 13.3 minutes per game, Brown finished his rookie season with a total of 225 points, 135 rebounds and 53 assists. He had six games scoring in the double digits, with a season-high 17 points in Oklahoma City on April 5th.
As a first year player, Brown has been able to play against players that he had watched growing up such as Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and LeBron James. He said at first he was intimidated, but as he continued to receive more playing time and get more reps in, it became more natural for him to play against those players.
“I remember this game so vividly: We played LeBron in Portland [and that time] we beat them. When I was on the floor with LeBron, and I was guarding him, I [thought,] ‘Man, that's crazy,’ because he's the person who actually made me love the game of basketball,” Brown said. “I just love the way he plays, love the way he got on the rim, gave his teammates involved. So just playing against that and seeing that in person, it was euphoric to me.”
As far as the transition from playing college ball to a new and more advanced level in the NBA, Brown said he had to be a lot sharper and really focus on his decision making. He said he learned not to second guess himself and to go all in every day.
Brown and Coach Packie have been in Santa Barbara working out for the past few weeks focusing on what Brown will be doing next season and finding ways he can contribute to the Trail Blazers’ success. He has been focusing on his rhythm in his jumper and his rhythm in his game in general. He has been putting up many shots, watching film, and working with VR.
“I would say my biggest goal is just to get better, and see where it takes me. If I keep getting better, opportunities will come,” Brown said. “Just trying to work on different skill sets, trying to learn the game a lot better, trying to carry myself a lot better, and just learn[ing] how to be a pro.”
Brown is continuing to learn every single day, whether that is physically or mentally. He said one of the biggest things he has had to learn is mind over matter, and really focusing on turning the negatives into positives.
The off-season has just begun, and Brown is ready to continue to put in all the work he can to prepare for his second year in the league and to keep playing the game that he loves.
“Just the joy I see it brings to myself and everybody around me, every time I'm on the court, I make a highlight, I just see everybody smile and hype and I just want to continue to bring that great energy,” Brown said. “That's what I feel the man upstairs wants me to do. [The] positive energy through basketball, [that is what] kind of keeps me going.”
“[I love basketball because of the] connections for sure. I always think about [how] if I didn't play basketball, I wouldn't have traveled this much [around the] world [and] I would have never met this pot of different people from everywhere… I can't really think of any other thing that I personally would do that would open up so many doors and so many connections, so that's why I love it,” Savickaitė said.