Bulls reserves Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green making some noise

Both were afterthoughts in the trade-deadline deals that reshaped the roster last season, but they’re showing just how versatile and valuable they can be.

SHARE Bulls reserves Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green making some noise

The Bulls’ pregame warmup Friday drew a lot of interest.

Hours before the Bulls hammered the Pelicans in a preseason game at the United Center, forward Patrick Williams took the floor for a shooting session that involved testing his sprained left ankle again.

He showed good lateral movement, put the ball on the floor and didn’t look the least bit slowed by the injury he suffered late last month. It’s safe to say his return is close, provided there are no setbacks.

But that doesn’t mean coach Billy Donovan is about to put either of his ‘‘Swiss Army knives’’ away. That’s the best way to describe what Javonte Green and Troy Brown Jr. can be for the Bulls this season.

Both joined the Bulls in deadline deals last season but didn’t really get to show what they could provide off the bench. Now, however, they suddenly look like versatile options for Donovan to throw at opponents.

In the first two preseason games, Green has started in Williams’ place at power forward, even though he’s only 6-4. He followed up a 13-point, four-block, two-steal performance against the Cavaliers with seven points and two steals against the Pelicans.

Brown, meanwhile, came off the bench for 13 points and two assists against the Cavaliers and had five points and three assists against the Pelicans.

‘‘Javonte has had a really good camp,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He kind of has fit in well with those [starting] guys. He kind of knows how to fit in, get his defense, get out in transition, get on the backboard, defend, switch, rotate defensively. He does a lot of things.’’

The same can be said of Brown.

Green came over from the Celtics with big man Daniel Theis in a three-way trade, and Brown came over from the Wizards. Theis appeared to be the big get, while Green and Brown felt like players who might get a look but were unlikely to earn long-term commitments.

Both, however, have spent the summer and training camp changing minds. After the Bulls missed out on several veteran power forwards, such as Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge, in free agency, they turned their attention to being athletic and versatile. They have that in Green and Brown.

Green can play and defend much bigger than his size, and 6-6 Brown has some guard instincts to go with his small-forward build.

‘‘I feel like me and Coach have a good dynamic in the sense of me being like a Swiss Army knife,’’ Brown said. ‘‘Whatever he needs on the court, that’s what I go do — whether it’s playmaking, rebounding, playing defense, hitting threes. So I feel like that’s my job on the team.’’

Once Williams and backup guard Coby White (shoulder surgery) are healthy, it will be interesting to see what Donovan does with Green and Brown. Green is making a strong case to be Williams’ backup, especially when the Bulls want to go small, but Derrick Jones Jr. and Alize Johnson are also in that mix.

Brown should have an easier path to getting minutes as the only real backup to DeMar DeRozan, but Donovan will have to find out how the bench looks, considering he hasn’t had the full group practicing together yet.

What Brown cares about is that he has been able to show the Bulls what he’s fully capable of, rather than being thrown into the mix and learning on the fly, like he had to last season.

‘‘I’m more comfortable now, and they’re more comfortable with me, too,’’ Brown said. ‘‘So they’re kind of letting me play my game. We’ve got a whole new team this year, so it gave me a clean slate to show who I am.’’

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