LA JOLLA, CALIF. – Boldly going where few G-League players had gone before, Timberwolves wing Anthony Brown in early August signed on the line and became one of the first two-way players contracted to split time between the development league and the NBA.
He did so because whether one-way or two-way, he considered just the chance to become a Wolf an opportunity.
"I wasn't really worried about the two-way," he said. "They said with the two-way you can go to training camp, so that was No. 1 on my list. Get to camp and then go from there."
He's hoping that his training camp performance near San Diego just a couple hours from where he grew up in a Los Angeles suburb will push him into the NBA for good in his third pro season.
He's hoping it proves Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton right when the Lakers waived Brown early last season, but Walton said he nonetheless considers Brown an NBA player.
A 6-7 player drafted 34th overall in 2015, Brown played 29 games with the Lakers, 11 with New Orleans and two with Orlando, but also has played with the Los Angeles and Erie (Pa.) teams in what this season is being called the G League.
All he wants, he said, is a chance to prove that now is his time after so many tries.
"I just felt like, going into my third year now, I've had enough experience to know how to be successful," said Brown, 24. "Whether that's being on the [Wolves] team right away or having to wait some time, I know when the opportunity presents itself, I've seen enough NBA basketball to know what to do. I've learned you've just got to keep pushing. You're not going to come into the NBA and set the world on fire. It takes time.
"Now I know what to do. My first year, I knew what to do, but I didn't know how to do it. Now I know what to do and how to do it effectively."
He said Minnesota is the right place for him because he knows how to complement high-scoring wings Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad with his defense, unselfishness and, if needed, his three-point shooting stroke.
What he doesn't know is just how the two new two-way roster spots every NBA team now gets starting this year will work. The NBA's new collective bargaining agreement expands rosters from 15 players to 17 and creates those two-way contracts that limit a player to 45 days spent on an NBA roster. It pays a two-way player a NBA salary while in the big league and a G League salary when he's down with the affiliate.
"The two-way, we don't even know how it works," said Brown, who was a five-year redshirt player at Stanford. "No one knows because it has never been used before."
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau admits he doesn't know, either, but he likes the concept for a team that has invited such young wings as Brown and former D-Leaguer Marcus Georges-Hunt as well as power forward Amile Jefferson and guard Melo Trimble to camp. One of the other three could end up signed to a two-way deal that would include time spent with the Iowa Wolves in the G League.
"Conceptually, it's just a great idea for everyone," Thibodeau said. "The thing I like about it, you get a guy and you really can work with him and develop him and someone can't poach him from you. You put the time into his development and now that guy is part of your organization and your team. I like the thought of that."
The Wolves need wing depth and they need another player there who can defend, shoot the three-pointer and help in an NBA where so many teams now play with a point guard, three wings and a power forward or center on the floor so often.
Thibodeau considers both Georges-Hunt and Brown as candidates for the job. Thibodeau considers Brown a versatile player who can play as many as three position, including some power forward in small-ball lineups.
"They're both really close [to making it in the NBA]," Thibodeau said. "They're real close. They've gotten better and they're a break away."
Brown is hopeful that break — and his time as well — is now.
"I think that goes for a lot of players," Brown said. "You have your stars and the rest of the guys, there are a lot of role players. To be honest, I would just like to get on the court and from there just try to make plays."