Shannon Brown came out of the 2010-11 shooting gates hotter than the roof of your mouth after eating too-hot soup, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and, notably, 46 percent from three-point range to get himself onto a bunch of Most Improved and Sixth Man lists among basketball scribes.
L.A.’s coaches repeatedly praised his play, impressed that Brown had listened to advice to slow his game down, take open shots when they were presented and avoid putting the ball on the floor or forcing action into the paint when unnecessary.
In the past five Lakers games, however, Brown has struggled considerably with his jumper, making only 12-of-39 field goals (30.7 percent), and 5-of-14 three pointers (35.7 percent). His turnovers have been up slightly, and from an overall shooting perspective in December, his numbers dropped to 40.2 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three.
“He’s missing shots,” said Phil Jackson, declining to draw any further conclusions. “You’re going to have slumps with shooting, and he was shooting at such a high rate it was almost an area (where) you’d say ‘He can’t sustain that’. But we look at Shannon and think that he can shoot about 40 percent from three-point because of his strength and his ability, so he has to get back to that.”
Even with Andrew Bynum’s return to playing 30 minutes per night, Brown’s playing time won’t necessarily decrease as he’s still in there to back up Kobe Bryant and at times play alongside No. 24. Against Philadelphia on Friday, Jackson tried Brown at point guard for a few minutes to give him a few more minutes, though Jackson expects a bit more if he heads back to the point in the future.
“He’s going to have to play that role with a little more confidence for my satisfaction,” the Coach explained.
Whether he gets any minutes at that position likely won’t be of consequence barring an injury, but the Lakers do expect Brown’s production to fall somewhere between his hot start and his cold last few weeks.