Athletic, young guard.

Sports a bunch of tattoos.

Comes off the bench.

Can leap straight out of the building and right into your heart.

Great three-point shooter.

Has the ability to go on hot streaks.

Lots of potential.

Adam Morrison.

Yes. I mean, no. But close.

If you had given me those descriptions in a game of Taboo two years ago, I would have confidently yelled out ‘J.R. SMITH’ while simultaneously jacking up 10 make-believe three-pointers 50 feet away from your face to further mimic J.R.’s distinct style-of-play (while also probably helping some other group in another universe win their game of NBA Charades). These days however, I’m more inclined to yell out SHANNON BROWN anytime I hear anyone use such adjectives to describe a certain NBA player. Except with Shannon, you’d also have to include the words ‘grounded’ (ironic choice of words, I know) and ‘dedicated’ to his list, while also adding ‘head-case’ and ‘enigmatic’ to J.R.’s.

Oh, how the tides have turned. Just this summer, I recall a few Laker fans trying to devise new and creative ways of packaging Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton alongside some delicious, sweet treats in order to obtain the talented, yet troubled, young guard out of Denver. With the way Shannon has come out of the gate this year shooting and playing like a perennial Sixth-Man-of-the-Year candidate, however, it’s made the thought of ever even desiring J.R. Smith seem down-right insane (fitting word for him, I know).

Although, when you compare the two players now, and how strikingly similar their games have become, you have to wonder if the Lakers have just stumbled upon J.R. Smith’s better-looking, better-shooting, better-playing doppelganger, Shannon ‘UPS’ Brown. Shannon has essentially become what J.R. Smith was for the Nuggets two years ago when he faced the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals – a high-flying, hot-shooting, game-changer off the bench, with added tattoo-action to go along with it all. Except in Shannon’s case, he’s approached the game from a very humble and hungry perspective, willing to wait his time and pick the minds of some of the game’s most astute mentors in Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Phil Jackson. And clearly, while the external similarities are certainly there (especially with Shannon’s added three-point range and his Kobe-like ability to get hit), it’s the differences that are the most striking. At least up to this point, Shannon has played very within-himself and done everything the team has asked of him and more. Shannon’s really worked on his three-point shot this summer and it’s obviously paid huge dividends for him and the Lakers. Even though his three point shot looks as it’s just inches away from being blocked and isn’t as aesthetically pleasing or as quick in release as we’d like, he’s nevertheless been hitting nothing but the net this season. Better yet, unlike J.R. Smith, whose more prone to making bone-headed plays out there and throwing up some really ill-advised shots which usually have George Karl beside himself (Coby’s probably shaking his head too), Shannon has, for the most part, learned to pick his spots and wait on the opportunities that Kobe and his other teammates give him. As such, Shannon has given the Lakers exactly what they’ve needed, when they’ve needed it a lot more than J.R. Smith has for his own team this season.

In fact, J.R. Smith is averaging more time than Shannon (20 minutes to Shannon’s 19), but is shooting much less than him from the field and 3 point-land (38% to Shannon’s 51%), and is no doubt getting yanked from fourth quarters and even entire games (two DNP’s on the season) a lot more than Shannon is. It’s really quite simple – George Karl still doesn’t trust J.R. Smith after all his years with the Nuggets, while Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant have given Shannon the green-light to perform consistently in several 4th quarters after only being under the triangle system for 2 years.

In comparing the two right now, I’d give Shannon the edge in defense, dunking, 3-point shooting (who would have thought?), and better decision-making, with J.R. getting the marginal nods in play-making ability, dribbling skills, and a sweeter-looking stroke…and also shooting from really, really far away.  Two years ago, I never would have thought there would be a day where I’d start calling Shannon the ‘better J.R. Smith’, but these days, not only is he the ‘better J.R. Smith’, he might be the ‘more athletic’ Jason Richardson as well. When it comes right down to it, while the careers of both Shannon and J.R. may have started out quite similarly (purely being known as athletic freaks of dunking nature), their paths have now seemingly swapped trajectories, with Shannon looking primed and ready to soar right past that glass ceiling which has always capped J.R. Smith’s own potential and talent.

Yes, I know, it’s early, but if you look at how much Shannon has progressed and how much work he’s put into his craft in such a short time, it’s certainly not improbable to see him surpass any of the homer-ish, high sights we may already have set for him – that’s usually where he’s at in terms of rim level anyway.

So after a long off-season of rigorously working on all aspects of his game (inspired and pushed no doubt by the Great Mambitus Negrosus – ‘black mamba’ in some fictional language I just made up), as well as receiving some much-needed healing time for his mangled fingers/hand, Shannon Brown has certainly proven to many teams that looked him over this past Summer of Lebron that the Autumn of Shannon is going to be one hell of a force to be reckoned with. He’s undoubtedly already been a primary source of regret and sorrow for almost every Laker opponent he’s stepped on the court against. Who says Kobe Bryant doesn’t make his teammates better? Chalk Shannon Brown up as yet another successful graduate of Kobe’s ‘Better Working, Better Shooting, Better Consistency’ Academy, which proudly features former pupils Caron Butler and Trevor Ariza. Better yet, chalk Shannon Brown up as yet another humble, hard-working guy who never took the opportunities he had for granted – as someone who truly cares for the game.

Through 15 games, Shannon is leading the Killer B’s off the bench with 11 points a game, shooting a blistering 29-57 (51%) from three-point land, and doing so in only 19 minutes of game-time. In fact, he is the team’s fourth leading scorer, right behind Kobe, Pau, and Lamar, respectively. Not to be cliché, but in this case, it’s almost literal – if Shannon continues to stay dedicated in his craft and not be content with his own successes (like one, J.R. Smith), the sky is truly the limit for him. Knowing Shannon, he’ll most likely take that limit, light it up, take it up higher, push it, and give it more.  Thanks Usher.  You know you just sang that in your head.

- Jonathan Hernandez

The K.I.T Yearbook

Follow @Jhun88

  • HATER

    Shannon improvement has sure amazed me and its great to watch.

    • http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Hernandez

      stop being such a hater. haha jk,

  • Robert.

    What do you think? They have been talking ‘Sixth Man’. Or could it also be ‘Most Improved Player’? 6th Man is a ‘notch’ above MIP. He would be in the company of players like Manu Ginobili.
    .
    Then again, when Drew returns, Lamar might be a candidate for 6th man if he plays on the bench team.
    .
    Either way, Shannon has stepped up a ‘huge’ level. I hope that he keeps it up all year long, and of course through several years from now as well.

    • the lakers rock!!!!!!

      lamar sixth man of the year, shannon most improved player.

  • gugy

    SB is doing great. I like his fire and intensity.
    Those 3 point shoots are just ridiculous!!!!!!

    I hope this kid can be the difference maker in the playoffs. We will need him and Lamar to step up big time. And yes Mr. Andrew Bynum needs to get his sh!t together and crash those boards.

  • Cheryl

    I was the happiest Lakers fan around when they finally announced they had signed Shannon. Now they need to pay him what he is really worth!

  • http://www.twitter.com/kevinsmoore Moorepower310

    Shannon Brown for Most Improved!

    • 242LakerFan

      If he can keep this level of play up though the season, that would be the easiest decision ever.

  • Lakers 24 7

    JR Smith is just a chucker. He gets the ball, chucks it up, and prays for a basket. He can shoot his team back into a game, but he can shoot his team OUT of a game, also.

    Shannon Brown is under control. Better decision maker. Better percentage from the stripe and from the arc, and better overall percentage.

  • the lakers rock!!!!!!

    shannon brown its way better than jr smith. once he gets the ball, me as a fan, i don’t get concerned, when jr gets the ball anything can happen. players are not perfect, and all of them can have a bad game. but the thing with jr are his bad decisions. i can live with a player missing a shot because he is having a bad night, but i can’t live with a player making stupid selfish desisions like jr

    • LkrFn4Lf

      word

  • gianizola

    come on, dont overrate SBs defensive skills. maybe he has the tools, but he is a long way from being called a GOOD defender.

    but the jr comparison is very neat.

    • http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Hernandez

      i just said I think he’s a better defender than JR Smith. whether or not you think Smith plays good defense is up to you.

  • gugy

    Damn Derrick Rose is a monster. That kids is fast.

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  • SHOWTIME4EVA

    I could always see that Shannon had a smooth stroke and knew he could knock down shots and he’s athletic so,I’m not surprised by his improved play.But I am surprised that when he made these improvements he would do it while being a member of our team.I’m more pleased that surprised.

  • RacistWriters

    Negrosas? Really Tho. You writers sicken me.

    • http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Hernandez

      um, ‘negro’ in spanish means black. Black Mamba..hence negro. It’s not referring to ‘black people’, it’s referring to a color. Not to mention that i made that word up. chill the heck out.

      • m1k3

        And wetback is said when u are having a shower and have water on ur back

        • bostonSUCKS88

          mike stop being dumb. so according to you we are all racist then when we say the “black mamba.” If we say the word ‘black’ we are racist. chill out and stop being so sensitive

      • m1k3

        Can TLN get rid of this insensitive reporter pls

        • http://ohmeohmyjellosjigglin.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Hernandez

          Your comparison makes no freaking sense. If someone wants to say ‘black’ in spanish and says ‘negro’, you’re going to call them a racist? If I’m referring to the color black when I say ‘black mamba’, you’re going to call me racist? Why in all the hell would I write an article praising a black Laker player and be racist? There’s a difference between negro (nehgro) the color, and negro (neehgro). It’s not like I said the ‘N’ word. I was CLEARLY referring to the ‘black’ in black mamba.

          Ask anyone whose hispanic how you say BLACK in spanish and they’ll all say: negro. Not referring to a person or people. But a color.

          Please explain to me how I was racist.

          • DCLakeshow

            I think your turkey leg is being pulled, so just let it go.

          • m1k3

            Can u just stick to doing the lawn , instead of putting ur head into ur own a ss…

            U badly neeeeegrow, when i say neeegrow , i mean short for need to grow..

          • Appalled

            Please give up blogging.

        • 242LakerFan

          This is either a joke or the manifestation of an education sorely lacking. Don’t fuel their fire.

          • m1k3

            242LakerFan

            Apparently education did a lot of good for the author of this article…

            BTW how is ur infatuation with my buddies Roy and Mecka going on..

        • m1k3

          Que pasa Jona

          Can u just stick to doing the lawn , instead of putting ur head into ur own a ss…

          U badly neeeeegrow, when i say neeegrow , i mean short for need to grow..

          • MECKA

            Thats a hacker…not the real inglewood mik3

          • m1k3

            MECKA

            What are u my boyfriend.. i though the restraining order was enough to keep u away..

  • poon tang blues

    all the writers in here are racist.

  • Robert.

    Difference between J.R. and Shannon: Shannon gets to be in videos with Monica; J.R. gets to be in fights with NBA players.

  • Niko

    Greatly written article. Just the kind that this site has been missing. Keep it up, man.

    And the “negro” conversation? Totally blown out of the water. Negro means black in Spanish. It does not refer to the race, it refers to the color black. In no way does “Negrosus” pertain to any form of racism or discrimination. Ya’ll gotta calm down.

  • 242LakerFan

    I’m just glad that Shannon made his little foray into the free agency market. I think hegot the chance to look at himself and realize that there were things lacking in his game and that’s why he wasn’t getting the offers he might have been expecting. I think he saw that he could really help himself and the Lakers by working hard and filling in the blanks in his game. Emulating the hardest working man in basketball is the best way to do that.
    I can’t say I predicted this, but I did speculate that this could be a possible result. I am thrilled that he did go this way. Most Improved Player award a real possibility.

  • MECKA

    good article Jonathan

  • LAKER BOY 82

    Shannon shuld get both awards the most improve player award & the 6th man award…LoL can they do that???

  • harold

    I thought signing Shannon was superfluous and unnecessary, but wow, I’m thinking now that he was THE bargain of our offseason that included PJ, Barnes and Blake.

    • 242LakerFan

      Superfluous and unnecessary? Like using superfluous and unnecessary in the same sentence? That’s funny! LOL Good one!

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  • Appalled

    I never knew the Lakers Nation had racist writers. Even if you were black, there’s no need to mention Negro. Just call him by his real name, Kobe.