ORLANDO, Fla. - Markel Brown was just hearing the news and when he did, it took a few seconds for it to actually seep into his brain and register.
Alan Anderson is headed to the nation's capital thanks to the veteran swingman reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with the Wizards worth $4 million. That means an opportunity wider than an eight-lane highway is about to fall squarely onto Brown's 6-3, 190-pound frame.
Brown, who had just had a scary spill during the Nets' 64-55 loss to the Hornets in Orlando Summer League action, seemed stunned. He figured Anderson was going to return to Brooklyn for a third season, but now with him bound for Washington, Brown is set on reclaiming a top spot in coach Lionel Hollins' rotation.
"It surprised me because you are the first one that shared the information with me," Brown told Newsday after scoring a team-high 12 points and hauling in five rebounds Tuesday. "But it is motivation. I feel like I'm going to have to play a big role on this team. I'm going to be a role player and contribute to the team, and I've already got to get on my high horse and be ready. When my name is called, step up there and contribute."
Brown was in good spirits considering the nasty fall he took just before halftime, a hard one that reverberated around the Amway Center practice gym. He drove to the basket and his left knee apparently collided with Troy Daniels, dropping Brown to the court writhing in pain. He stayed down several minutes while getting checked out by team trainer Tim Walsh before limping to the bench.
After getting examined in the locker room, Brown was back out starting the second half. The feeling that disappeared in his toes and his feet had returned, alleviating any injury concerns.
"Boy, it scared me," Nets assistant coach Joe Wolf said. "I'll tell you that much."
Brown has visions of a vastly improved second season as a pro, putting a topsy-turvy rookie campaign behind him.
So this summer, Brown is working on a variety of things, trying to elevate areas of his game that could use it the most.
"I think he just needs to keep getting better off the dribble," Nets assistant coach Joe Wolf said, "and getting to the paint and then scoring. And once he gets there, making good decisions. He's working on that every day and we'll keep seeing improvement from him."
That's certainly the plan, anyway. It's all about gaining confidence and expanding his offensive repertoire, things that are necessary as Brown looks to reclaim minutes. Anderson's departure cleared the runway and it's up to Brown to take flight.
"I feel like the opportunity is there, but I've just got to go out there and do what I have to do to show them that it's there," Brown said. "A.A. was a pretty solid defender for us, so someone's going to have to fill that role, and someone is going to have to fill the role of him scoring buckets and making the hustle plays. So I feel like I can go out there and do that, but it's going to take a lot to fill his shoes."
Notes & quotes: Cory Jefferson sat out with what the team is calling left knee tendinitis.