Shannon Brown: Most Improved Sixth Man of the Year

Since joining the Los Angeles Lakers, Shannon Brown’s game has blown up like Al Gore at a buffet in Vegas after losing the election. Always known as a highflier, the Chi Town native is out to prove there’s more to his game than those NASA certified boosties.

ShanWow first burst onto the scene by earning the trust of Phil Jackson due to his grasp on the Triangle and that patented defensive intensity. What came as a surprise was Shannon’s clutch shooting and composure under pressure. The former first round pick was beginning to bounce around the league at Quentin Richardson speed before finding a home in the City of Angels.

Given his improved play this season and his knack for coming up big off the bench, Shannon looks in line for an award of some kind. Some say he’s the most improved player in the league. Others would argue he’s among the league’s best sixth men.

I say, why not both?

Check the stats and Shannon’s offensive efficiency is frightening. In only 18 minutes a night, Brown is dropping 11 per game while shooting at a sick clip of 52% from the field, 51% from three and 92% from the line. That is Mamba-esque just with a smaller sample size.

Beyond the stats, Brown has recently been getting a lot of tick during crunch time. During the loss in Denver, Shannon took almost all of Derek Fisher’s fourth quarter PT and was playing so well that many questioned why PJ removed him while the game was still hanging in the balance.

But last night in Milwaukee was a revelation.

This time Jackson rode the hot hand and watched as Shannon poured in 16 points in the final frame including 10 straight at one point. Even Kobe Bryant was reluctant to enter the game giving Phil a slight shrug as he went to the scorer’s table.

With the way things are going, Shannon will soon be on everybody’s radar for reasons that go well beyond his highflying throwdowns. The combo guard has learned much from being around KB24. Brown’s improved game is proof of the influence that winning a couple rings alongside the best to ever play the game can do wonders to one’s confidence.

Speaking of confidence. I’m sure Shannon will get plenty of praise as the year goes on. But it might just be time to initiate the LetShannonStart.com movement. No disrespect to D-Fish but that time is coming. It might not be today, might not even be this season, but in the near future #12 should be hearing his name called during the pre-game introductions.

Tags: Derek Fisher Kobe Bryant Phil Jackson Quentin Richardson Shannon Brown

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