Shannon Brown and Joe Smith have appeared in Drew League this summer
This was supposed to be a post updating how Shannon Brown plans to exercise his $2.37-million option. This was supposed to provide a glimpse on how Brown has stayed busy this offseason. And this was supposed to show a few Brown dunks that Laker fans endlessly enjoy.
I had been tipped off that Brown had devoted part of his summer playing in the Drew League, a summer league that features Los Angeles-based NBA, college and amateur players and a league that director Oris "Dino" Smiley says serves as the equivalent to New York City's Rucker Park leagues. The video indeed shows Brown participating about two weeks ago, but he didn't arrive Sunday like league officials had said he would. All accounts, from Smiley to Toronto Raptors guard and USC product DeMar DeRozan to rapper Game, say Brown definitely didn't disappoint.
But there was still some Laker news to report. Lakers forward Joe Smith showed up after saying The Game convinced him Saturday when meeting at a local barber shop that he should come by Washington Park in East L.A. to hoop it up. Smith reiterated his desire to play again for the Lakers, saying he doesn't want to have to keep moving after playing for 12 different teams. But surely his wishes aren't among the Lakers' highest priorities. Besides, no matter how much fun Smith is to talk to and how much he provided a positive locker room presence, he doesn't exactly sell himself well when Game cracked more minutes on the floor than he did and he was the victim of getting dunked on in a pickup scrimmage. Still, Smith had nothing but goods to say about Lakers Coach Mike Brown, whom Smith played for in 2008 and 2009 for the Cleveland Cavaliers, though he admitted "it's going to take some getting used to" adjusting to handling the widened scrutiny and off-court distractions that surround the Lakers.
"He knows his X's and O's on both ends of the floor," Smith said. "It's going to be a good fit for the team. We have a lot of veterans on this team and a lot of guys who know what it takes to win. Mike will be that key factor to get us going on both ends of the floor, especially defensively, where I felt we struggled at times this year. I don't think we really understood the defensive scheme as a whole. Certain individuals did, but as a group I don't think we really understood it to the point where we could go out there and execute it to the fullest."
Speaking of Game, he jokingly challenged several players with thousand-dollar wagers and appeared in a jovial mood. But he didn't sound too excited in touting his music video "Purp & Yellow," which featured Brown, Ron Artest and Matt Barnes. Besides the song being a few months old, discussing it only brought back frustrating memories regarding the Lakers' early playoff exit.
"Lakers got put out by the Mavs," Game said. "It's a sore subject."
-- Mark Medina
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