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Lakers shouldn't re-sign Shannon Brown

December 4, 2011 |  9:36 am

Nothing will become official until free agency begins Dec. 9, but the rhetoric alone suggests the Lakers won't re-sign Shannon Brown.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak sounded almost as if he expected Brown to go elsewhere when he spoke with reporters Friday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. Brown's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told The Times' Ben Bolch that Brown could return to the Lakers, "but he's also at a point in his career where he's maybe ready to take the next step in terms of playing time and with Kobe [Bryant] there that's going to be hard."

The Lakers shouldn't fret too much about Brown leaving. As much as he would help the Lakers with his youth and athleticism, it can't mask the glaring inconsistencies that plagued his game last season. After averaging 10.83 points on 48.6% shooting and creating a buzz as the league's most improved player through 18 games, Brown finished the remaining 64 games posting 8.07 points a game on a 40.61% shooting clip. Brown also appeared neither capable nor interested in compensating for his streaky shooting by improving his defensive play. 

It's possible that Brown's athleticism could flourish more with new Coach Mike Brown's traditional open-court offense. But assuming the rest of Shannon Brown's game develops quickly enough at this point in his career appears unrealistic. Though his shooting benefited from prolonged off-season work last year, he often ignored coaches' pleas to temper his shot selection during a cold stretch. Though the Lakers hinged their championship hopes on forging a stronger defensive identity, Brown provided very little in that area. 

The $2.37 million the Lakers save by shedding ties with Brown may not be enough to secure a more talented free agent. That price tag could increase should Brown field higher offers from other teams. The Lakers can afford that loss. They currently have other reserves that fit their backcourt needs more than Brown does. They are grooming Devin Ebanks to become a shooting guard and he has the athleticism, defense and work ethic that suggests he will grow. The Lakers drafted rookies Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock, with both of them having certain skills that could satisfy the Lakers' needs. Morris has enough playmaking abilities at least to earn some minutes to relieve Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. Goudelock's sharp shooting could mitigate last year's poor outside shooting. 

With Brown, the Lakers could still count on the fast-break dunks he throws down. But with plenty of work and time ahead for him to put in before he becomes a complete player, the Lakers shouldn't see him as a worthy investment. 

RELATED:

Lakers report card: Shannon Brown

Lakers reach out to free-agent Shannon Brown

Pros and cons of Brown opting out of his contract

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Shannon Brown. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire


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