Brown appreciates chance to earn Spurs roster spot

By Jeff McDonald

HOUSTON — Derrick Brown says he received make-good offers from a handful of other teams before the start of this year’s training camp.

He chose to go camping with the Spurs, despite the fact the team has only one roster spot open.

Two weeks in, and no matter what happens, the versatile forward is confident he made the right decision.

“You don’t appreciate things sometimes until you’ve seen something else,” said Brown, a former Charlotte Bobcat. “I love it here. From top to bottom, this organization is run the right way. I’d love to be a part of it. Love to.”

Three games into the preseason, Brown is doing his best to make that wish come true.

While fans have focused on more familiar names such as Eddy Curry and Josh Powell in the race for the Spurs’ final available slot, Brown has helped himself with a solid camp and exhibition season.

In three games, Brown, 25, has averaged seven points in 15.7 minutes per game.

The 6-foot-9 combo forward has played mostly power forward during his run with the Spurs. His athleticism and ability to guard small forwards has inflated his stock among Spurs decision-makers.

A three-year veteran, Brown played all but eight of his 171 NBA games with Charlotte, where Spurs forward Stephen Jackson was a teammate for two seasons.

“He actually gave (one-time All-Star) Gerald Wallace a run for his money every day in practice,” Jackson said. “I think that’s what opened a lot of people’s eyes that he belongs in this league.”

Brown, who averaged 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds for a dismal Charlotte team last season, says his experience with the Bobcats has prepared him for this shot with the Spurs.

“I learned a long time ago, you can’t control the situation that you’re in, but you can control what you do in that situation,” Brown said. “If you learn from it, it makes you who you are.

“I can’t control that I have to make a team this year. I can only play.”

Decisions can wait: Throughout the preseason, coach Gregg Popovich has deflected questions aimed at handicapping what the team plans to do with its final roster spot — assuming the team plans to fill it at all.

The Spurs must make at least three more cuts before the start of the season.

With Curry, Powell and Brown all contributing positive things in spurts, Popovich believes the final roster decision will go down to the wire.

“I think it will take a while,” Popovich said. “A couple of those guys will make it to the very end, I would imagine, if they keep playing the way they are now.”

All aboard for Houston: The Spurs took a full plane to Houston, meaning — in theory at least — today’s game against the Rockets could feature many roster regulars.

Only reserve point guard Patty Mills, nursing a right ankle sprain, has been ruled out. Manu Ginobili is expected to return after missing the past two games with a sore foot.

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