Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lakers re-sign Shannon Brown

Combo guard Shannon Brown is coming back for the bi-annual exception, a 2 year deal for $1.99 million this year with a player option for $2.1492 million next year. This is a nice compromise for both sides.

For the Lakers, it’s reported that they get Brown for a lower figure than what he was offered elsewhere. For Brown, he gives up some salary in the first year to return to what is, for him, the perfect situation. And if he has a good year, he retains the right to opt out and more than make up for any shortfall this year.

Brown came over from Charlotte in the Vladimir Radmanovic salary dump trade at the deadline. He was thought to be a throw in, but most of us saw him as a possible useful part, with Morrison being the true throw-in. But he had to be a pleasant surprise for even those most bullish on him.

He only played 136 minutes in the regular season, but put up a 15.0 PER behind a sterling 63.1 TS%, showing an ability to hit from deep and finish with spectacular dunks as well as showing the ability to defend 1’s and 2’s competently, including some spectacular blocks.

He followed that up with 276 minutes of 12.2 PER on a solid 55.0 TS%, again playing good defense in the right matchups.

This is a guy who started the season not even sure he would stay in the NBA and ended it as a useful role player on an NBA champion. How did he do it?

By persevering, and by finding the right system for his talents. He is not really quick enough or a good enough floor general to be a 1, and a little bit undersized for a 2, making him the kind of tweener guard that struggles to find a role in traditional NBA offenses. So he moved from Cleveland to Chicago to Charlotte before landing in LA, all in his first three years.

But in the triangle, anybody can initiate the offense, meaning you do not have to have a true point guard. Indeed, Phil has always preferred big lead guards. In this offense, he would be asked to space the floor and make good passes and cuts and finish at the rim. And that fits his skillset to a T.

You also have to credit him for just working his ass off to try to learn the offense. Because it is built on reads and not plays, it takes a long time to master, but it is a testament to him that he was able to gain enough of Phil’s trust to earn key minutes in critical playoff games, in particular in providing s spark in the Lakers comeback win over Denver in Game 5 and in helping out on Deron Williams against Utah.

I’m happy to see him bring back his shooting, athleticism, strength on defense and emotion for another year or two in LA. At 24 and with a full training camp to add to his knowledge of the triangle, I expect him to be an important piece in our guard rotation. He may fight for minutes with Farmar and Vujacic, but with his skillset he will find plenty of playing time as we push towards a repeat.

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