LINKOver his past 12 games, Brown is averaging 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds and has worked his way back into the starting lineup. He has led his team in scoring four times this season.
And the Wizards, parked near the bottom of the standings all season, have won three of four games.
Perhaps he isn't quite putting up All-Star numbers yet, but consider this: Brown led the Wizards in scoring a grand total of just once in his first two seasons -- it happened to be Michael Jordan's final game -- and he mostly languished on the bench while averaging 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds.
Why the sudden turnaround for the first player to go No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft straight out of high school? There are a variety of reasons:
* Brown is hanging around the low post. He has been playing center when the Wizards go to a smaller lineup, but he's also staying in the paint more when at power forward.
"I love it. It has a lot to do with it," Brown said. "On the wing, I'm not a consistent shooter -- 15, 20 feet away from the basket. The more comfortable I feel in the paint, the better team we are."
* Coach Eddie Jordan is giving Brown a chance. Michael Jordan and former coach Doug Collins often got fed up with Brown's teenage mind-set and would banish him to the bench for long stretches. Collins later admitted he didn't do a good job of handling such a young player. Brown's telling admission he's "not as jittery" says it all.
"I'm not afraid to make mistakes," Brown said. "I can make a mistake, and Coach will allow me to make up for it with my play. I won't find myself on the bench as a result."
* The Wizards are having to make do without injured guards Jerry Stackhouse and Gilbert Arenas, the two players they thought would lead them this season. Someone has to fill the void.
"We don't have that one superstar," Brown said. "With Jerry out and Gilbert out, those are the guys who can put up big numbers."
* Brown is growing up. He'll be 22 in March and has adjusted to the NBA lifestyle. This is his third season, the year players drafted straight from high school often make the big jump. Brown's early struggles were magnified more than others' because he was the first taken at No. 1.