Friday, July 1, 2011

L.A. Lakers: Shannon Brown's Decision to Opt out Should Bring a Peace Sign

Harry How/Getty Images
By Hadarii Jones (Lakers Featured Columnist): It was recently reported that Los Angeles Lakers reserve guard Shannon Brown has decided to opt out of the final year of his contract and enter into next year's free agency pool. The response from the team should be "peace, we wish you well."

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Brown's athleticism and potential, but I'm also a realist.

Mayans, Nostradamus and a few other people I am acquainted with love to delve in the arena of the unknown, but I am much more comfortable in elements that I can see.

What I see from Brown is a player who has the natural ability to be a great player, but he has never found the gumption to prove he is anything more than a career reserve.

Brown has plenty of highlight reel moments, and his feats of aerial acrobatics above the rim have dazzled any fan who supports the purple and gold, but all of Brown's athleticism and potential can't hide the truth of his game.

Hopefully, Mitch Kupchak and the Buss family are not too distressed by Brown's indiscretion because maybe it's time for another team to be lulled by what Brown could potentially do on the court.

I have watched Brown since his days as a Michigan State Spartan, and my opinion of him has never changed.

Brown has always been a spectacular physical and athletic specimen, but his game has never been able to match his genetics.

Sure, Brown has had an eye-popping dunk or two, and occasionally he might get hot from the perimeter, but when was the last time anyone has said that Brown is really on his way to being a great player?

Brown has shined at moments during his time as a Laker, but don't get it confused because his success is more a result of the people he plays with.

It's much easier to get open looks at the basket when you have teammates like Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, but if Brown carries through on his desire to explore free agency the truth of his talent will finally be revealed.

The truth is the Lakers should probably encourage Brown to explore his options in free agency or even take the decision out of his hands by seeking a trade because Brown's potential is not something the Lakers can count on.

Bryant is approaching the end of his career, the rest of the Lakers are aging as well and Brown has simply never shown me enough to believe that he should be considered as a solid building block for the team's transition to the future.

Brown has shown glimpses of ability, and I'm pretty sure there is some NBA team who will watch Brown's ESPN highlight reel and salivate at what type of player he could be.

Whatever team that is should really think before they act because once you get past Brown's highlights, are there any other parts of his game that stand out?

Brown could be a great defender, but he lacks fundamentals and an understanding of defensive principles.

Brown could be a great scorer, but his offensive game has no imagination or direction, and his outside shot is inconsistent.

Those are areas of the game that most players could improve on, but the only thing is those have been Brown's weaknesses since he entered the NBA, and I've become convinced it will be the same song once he retires.

I would love to see Brown continue his career as a Lakers reserve because he does provide the team with a much needed burst of energy off the bench, but the team should swing him a peace sign if he chooses to approach the contract negotiations on a hard line.

If Brown leaves, most Lakers fans will probably talk about what his loss to the team means for about two days, and like Trevor Ariza before him, Brown's career will become another insignificant spec in Lakers history.


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