Breaking down new Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown

During his two-year stint with the Lakers, Shannon Brown made a name for himself with his aerial acrobatics. He emerged as one of the NBA’s top dunkers under the bright lights of Los Angeles.

But there’s more to Brown than his absurd vertical leap and thunderous dunks. Here’s a look at Brown’s numbers, strengths, weaknesses and how he’ll fit in with the Suns:

Age: 26

Height/Weight: 6-4/210

Position: SG

Experience: 5 years (Cleveland, Chicago, Charlotte and LA Lakers)

College: Michigan State

2010-11 Stats: 8.7 PPG, 1.2 APG, 1.9 RPG, 42.5 FG%, 34.9 3P%, 82 games, 19.1 minutes.


Transition Play

Although the Suns don’t play at the same frenetic pace they did during the Mike D’Antoni era, they’re still one of the most uptempo teams in the league. With that said, Brown will fit right in.

His speed, hops and ability to finish make Brown one of the most lethal transition players in the NBA. Last season 19.7 percent of his plays came in transition, proving how often he was out on the break. Brown scored 1.25 points per possession in transition and should become one of Steve Nash’s favorite targets in the open court.

Moving Without the Ball

Aside from transition and three-pointers, most of Brown’s buckets come as a result of moving without the ball. His lateral quickness allows him to shift gears and cut to the hoop for easy buckets.

Brown scored 1.27 points per possession last season off of cuts and shot a solid 65.8 percent at the rim. With Nash dominating the ball in the Suns’ system, Phoenix needs a guy who can score without the ball in his hands and Brown fits the bill.


Brown is undoubtedly inconsistent with his jump shot (more on that later), but he can fill it up from beyond the arc. He drilled three or more triples in 10 games last season and proved he can heat up almost instantly. With that said, Brown will be able to space the floor and maintain the driving lanes necessary for Nash to operate.


His defense hasn’t come full circle yet, but Brown’s on his way to becoming an elite NBA defender. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds he can lock down both point guards and shooting guards, which the Suns have struggled with for what seems like decades.

Brown allowed only 0.65 points per possession against isolations last season, a clip that ranked 37th in the NBA. He limited opponents to a 34.8 percentage overall and yielded less than 37.5 percent shooting in every Synergy category but one. While providing energy and athleticism, Brown will give the Suns a much-needed perimeter defender to pair with Grant Hill.



Brown took heat in Los Angeles for his lack of consistency. Part of that came as a result of his limited playing time, but Brown would average double figures some months, and just over five points per game in others.

He’s also inconsistent from three-point land. He’s not a set shooter, which usually breeds inconsistency from deep as repetition is sometimes lacking. If Brown wants to build off of his LA stint and truly arrive as an NBA mainstay, he’ll need to find some semblance of consistency in his game.

Point guard skills

The Lakers played Brown at point guard at times, but he’s not a floor general by any stretch of the imagination. Brown registered five or more assists only twice in 82 games last season. His vision is sub-par and he shouldn’t be counted on to make plays in the pick and roll game.


More often than not, Brown won’t be seen isolating from the top of the key and taking his man off of the dribble. He’s an average ball-handler with limited ways to blow by a defender or create space. His lack of a mid-range game makes him predictable at times, leading to ineffective isolation play.

Brown shot only 30.8 percent from 10-15 feet and 33.0 percent from 16-23 feet last season, proving his isolation deficiencies. He scored only 0.74 points per isolation possession as well. But with that said, Brown should have no problem finding shots in the Suns’ offense.


As is the case for most NBA players that come to Phoenix’s player-friendly style, Brown couldn’t have landed in a more perfect spot than with the Suns. His athleticism and energy should mesh well what Alvin Gentry wants to accomplish. Then add in that Brown does most of his damage without the ball and it’s clear that he’ll thrive next to Nash.

The 26-year-old gives the Suns that athleticism and big play ability that they’ve been missing. While he’s not an All-Star or the answer to all of Phoenix’s many problems, Brown is a great addition for $3.5 million.

Tags: Shannon Brown

  • Kevin

    Both Brown and Dudley would be solid back ups in any NBA team. However, will either of them be able to step up into a starter role will remain to be seen. If either one can, there is a solid roster up ahead that depending on chemistry, can make a legitimate playoff run.

  • shazam

    thanks mike…nice break down..hope he works out..if not then we get a higher draft pick

  • Jt’s hoops Blog

    I will also add that both Brown and Dudley are stikinglysimilar in every respect. Brown will be another mediocre player that Steve Nash will make better, but won’t bring any comfort for Suns fans. The Sun have finally set on Phoenix.

  • Tony

    Jt, how can say Dudley and Brown are similar players? Brown is a heck of a lot more athletic than Dudley, his tremendous jumping ability coupled with his speed make him potentially a highly effective player in the Suns system.
    Dudley is a much better shooter than Shannon Brown and is more of a leader than Brown has shown so far.
    WIth that being said, neither are really starter material, but would be very helpful in a second unit.

  • Mel.

    I don’t think JT really cares about rationally discussing anything, Tony; he was just looking for an excuse to post that “The Sun have finally set on Phoenix” line, which he probably came up with while brushing his teeth.

    I mean, if you’re going to make a stab at one-liners like a bloggeral-belching Bruce Willis, at LEAST do it with some correct grammar, man.

    Also, more to the point: Brown’s an intriguing pickup. I hated him in purple and gold, but only because he and Sasha and Farmar formed an insufferably smug “Little Three,” whose efforts at off-the-bench swag always seemed to suggest that they were as integral a part of the Lakers’ machine as Bean, Odom and Pau. Of the three, however, Shannon seemed like the only one with the athleticism and dynamism to actually be a starter for another squad (Farmar’s default slot for the Nets doesn’t really count for beans, especially now that D-Will’s around), and I wouldn’t be shocked if he had a breakout year.

  • Sun-arc

    I hope brown starts so dudz can Score for the 2nd unit, and lead our bench squad. I think brown could shine for us. It’ll be an interesting year.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Brown will be fun to watch. I am really surprised that the Lakers let him go. The Lakers fans that I have talked with thought that Brown would be a great player.

    He will flourish in the Suns system.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    By the way….Dudley may be a type of starting guard like Danny Ainge or Kevin Johnson of the ’80′s Celts.

    Neither were great scoring guards, but both were clutch and lock down defenders.

  • auggie5000

    Great deal for the Suns. They should have signed most of their past free agents like this. One year deals!

  • Mike L

    Lloyd, I think you must be thinking of Dennis Johnson, not Kevin Johnson. KJ is and always will be an electrifying, if not frustratingly iconic symbol of Suns’ offensive prowess.

    Yes, DJ and Ainge were good defenders, though.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Mike L -

    Yes, Dennis Johnson. DJ and Ainge were both real fighters. (You sure wouldn’t want to be at the bottom of a loose ball pile up with Ainge!)

  • chris

    Maybe it’s me, but these moves reek of tanking, which is fine, if you want to rebuild. To fully take this course then Hill should not have been resigned and Nash traded last off-season. We keep hearing about the cap money Phx has for next year, but what “superstar” player is going to come here? Sarver’s antics during the lockout may have sealed the deal of not getting a “game changer”.

    The 2010 team was a fluke, a joyous ride, but still a fluke. Sarver’s track record for spending and doing what it takes to put a winning product on the court are “Donald Sterlingish”. I just see that after this year the organization falling off a cliff. What happens then? Oh, how I pine for the days of Colangelo running the team.

  • steve

    I think I’ll just let this one go. There are too many irrational haters to count, and a few rational ones here or there. Sarver sucks. No one would want to play for him. Ignore his winning percentage as an owner. Jerry set him up to succeed. Ignore his high payrolls and luxury tax spending because he’s cheap and I say so…

  • Mel.

    And yet, if the team made NO moves, dumped Nash and Hill and actually tanked in any legitimate way, shape or form, we’d be sitting here running management up the same flagpole.

    As it stands, PHX has as much chance of landing a “superstar” (With CP3 and D12 apparently already sewn up–and D-Will feasibly sticking with the Nets, should the latter go to NJ–that’s a pretty liberal assessment of next year’s FA pickins anyway) as at least a dozen other teams. And a hell of a lot more traction than Colangelo’s current franchise, in any case.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Actually, the 2010 Suns were not a fluke.

    The front office produced a perfectly balanced squad and Gentry actually used the pieces, (unlike Mike D. and Terry P), the proper way. There was also a go-to stud on the team with Nash, while the second unit was allowed to be a pesky defensive force.

    Shannon Brown is in for a year. May as well make peace with it.

    The one thing that I continue to hate about the front office is that the players they draft rarely get a chance to even “have a chance” before they are sent away. Lawal is the newest name to add to that list.

    How do you waive somebody before you even get a good look at them? On the flip side, a guy like RoLo gets kept even when he’s absolutely terrible.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Chris -

    You state, “what superstar player is going to come here?” Yesterday ex-G.M. Steve Kerr stated on the radio that Phoenix has always been an atractive destination for free agents. He cited the great winter weather as one key reason.

    I also agree with Rich that the Suns don’t give rookies a chance. I hope that they throw this years top pick Morris out there right away. (Look at how the Cards are using rookie Patrick Peterson? What would their record be without him?)

    I don’t see any sense in not trying to have a good team this year, especially when you have all of the cap space next year. With all of the one year contracts that the Suns have put together, you can get rid of the players that you don’t want anyway.

  • Serek

    Hi all, my first post here, but I’ve been following this site since Gortat arrived to the Valley. But it isn’t about him.

    I don’t presume to understand NBA economics, but this last news staggered me. It’s obvious Polish b-ball league doesn’t compare with NBA, especially since basically a rookie on rehab dominated there.

    But why would any reasonable team waive a minimum (?) salary player who didn’t even have a chance to prove himself? They just dumped $5m by trading away Pietrus, and it’s not like there aren’t any players who were getting way more for sitting on the bench.
    Any ideas?

  • Michael Schwartz

    @Serek I think the biggest reason is just that they felt set at the power forward spot with Frye, Morris and Warrick. Then they have two centers in Gortat and Lopez and from there they had two more young big guys in Siler and Lawal, and I assume this just means they like Siler better than Lawal. So really I think it just came down to numbers. Also keep in mind the fact that this front office did not draft Lawal, and Blanks made some comments about Morris being much further along in his basketball life than Lawal at the draft, so while I was a tad bit surprised since they stuck with him through the injury it shouldn’t be seen as a huge surprise.

  • Serek

    Thanks, indeed they waited for him all this time just to release him a few days before he could show what he got, which imo is really poor timing to give up on a guy. What options do such players have at this point? Free-agency?
    As for Siler, I think Suns actually invested in him by sending him to Olajuwon with Gortat, iirc? By the way, when will we have the first demo of what these two (and the rest of the Suns) might have learned during off-season?

  • Zak

    I was a bit surprised that the Suns let Lawal go too but considering they had 4 guys at the PF spot, one of them had to go and in hindsight Lawal is the obvious choice. Yeah, he played very well in the Polish league but Frye is the #1 PF for the Suns, Warrick is the #2 and has experience. Morris was the Suns draft pic this year and to let him go without ever giving him a shot in training camp would just make that a wasted draft pick. While I’m not a big fan of Warrick, he does have experience and the Suns will need that in a backup PF. I suppose it all came down to the Suns thinking that keeping Morris and Siller had more upside for the team than keeping Morris and Lawal and letting Siller go. I have few doubts that someone will sign Lawal this season though. He still has promise to make a solid NBA backup.

  • chris


    What big free agent have the Suns gotten in the Sarver era? None, zip how does that change now? Many teams have great winter weather (LAC, LAL, SA, Houston, to name a few). There has been no recent history that has proven Sarver will spend the money correctly to build a winner.

    The idea the Suns should try and have a good year is noble, but it is not true. So many games in such a short time will have a negative impact on Nash and Hill. I just don’t see their bodies holding up over the season. If Gentry does limit minutes it hurts them just as well. This team is poorly constructed and the Suns will be vying for at best an 8th seed, just the reality of it.

  • steve

    Not a whole lot of big free agent signings ever happen. Most superstars stay put. That’s still true even today. There are one or two big signings a year, at best, and many more than one or two teams in the league. The suns don’t have a WORSE chance than most other teams, it’s just that pretty much NO team has any shot to sign a big fish at all because there aren’t that many big fish in the pond.

  • sun-arc

    I believe Sarver was in control when they brought Nash in.

  • Mel.

    Again, that’s just a flimsy “apples to apples” conversation. How many major free-agent signings has Utah had in the last eight years? How about the Kings? The Clippers? The Rockets? The Warriors? The 76ers? The T-Wolves? The Spurs? The Bucks? The Hornets?

    Right. Get the nines straight, and it’s exactly what steve said; if ANY of these teams made a notable, superstar-level move during the same span of time as “Sarver era,” then it was through a trade or the draft.

    Of course, it’s easier to pitch rocks and spin for the negative than it is to try and be objective. Especially when burning down the effigy of the Suns’ front office.

  • Tony

    Steve, Steve, Steve! Regarding Sarver, I guess objectivity on your part is gone. Sarver is almost universally regarded as an inferior owner, to say the least, by most people knowledgable about basketball.
    You also ignore the fact that the Suns’ best players were all brought in by BC and not Sarver. And although the team was in the luxury tax during Sarver’s early days, once again that had more to do with Colangelo’s moves not Sarver’s.
    Now look, not to keep rehashing this argument with you, but let’s take this off-season for example to get a sense of Sarver’s ownership abilities.
    1. He basically leaves Arron Brooks in limbo as to his future with the Suns, possibly leading to or at least contributing to his signing with a team in China.
    2. Sarver resigns Grant Hill, which I do think was a solid move, but then trades Peitrus for cash and a conditional second round pick to off-set the increased offer for Hill. (Although as of now, the deal has been terminated because Peitrus failed his physical).
    3. Sarver releases Luwall, a 2nd year player who has not had a real chance to prove his value to the team, and it’s not like Luwall had a large contract.
    4. Signing Telfair, while probably more to do with Blanks than Sarver, is a ridiculous signing as the guy has zero offensive ability whatsoever.
    5. Finally, I do like the signing of Shannon Brown, as theoretically, he should be a perfect fit for the Suns, although his inconsistent shooting may become too much of a negative. However, signing him to only a one year deal basically turns him into merely a rental player. If he has a great season, his price tag will go way up and it’s unlikely Sarver will match what he demands, and then Brown is gone. Or, if Brown has a poor season, Sarver’s likely to give him a low-ball offer and Brown leaves in anycase, especially since Brown has made it clear that this season is about playing well enough to earn a big future contract.
    Finally, I know all the moves this season are directed more to clearing cap space for next season, but it is a fair argument to ask why would any star player want to sign with the Suns while Sarver is owner? These max-players will get offers elsewhere for the same amount of money or even more just to stay with their current team. The mere fact that an elite player would leave the current team he is on usually is an indication that the player is not satisfied with the prospects of winning with that team. Or, they want to play in a bigger market. Thus, it makes no sense to leave a mediocre team, where this hypothetical star player would likely earn more money by resigning with them because of CBA rules, to then just leave and go to the Suns, another border-line mediocre team, to earn less money.

  • Geo

    I think the owner has little to due with a players wanting to join the suns. I think players would be more interested joining our team for our style of play and where they choose to live in phx. Instead of going to a small market city like sota. Money has something to do on getting a player to play for you but im sure theres other factors as well.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    @ Geo – the owner has everything to do with players wanting to join the Suns, or any other team.

    The Mavericks were terrible before Cuban got there. Now, he’s at the point where just about anybody will go there and when he finally begins his rebuilding process, (IE when Dirk is done or a year or 2 before), he will still be able to attract players because he goes that extra mile for the franchise.

    Most dislike Sarver; a few are left that defend him on certain things. Either way, this 2012 cap-clear-and-rebuild plan will be the final chapter for him as an owner and will determine whether or not he can be an owner seen in a positive light and whether or not the valley will be looked at as an attractive destination for top tier players.

    The one thing he has going for him, no matter how much fans, bloggers, and analysts hate it right now [for Nash] is player loyalty at the top.
    If you’re a great player, want to be in the valley, don’t ask for a [Matrix] contract higher than what you deserve, you’ll be welcome to stay as long as you want and the team will do what it takes to keep you.

    **Pause on any Stoudemire talk. He didn’t want to be here.**

    Another thing to keep in mind about future free agency periods is that certain teams won’t be able to just toss money and every and anybody. These next few years as teams with multiple top level players like the Lakers will show movement not with straight up cash signings, but instead with trades. Los Angeles is trying hard to get Paul and Howard, right now, because they know it’ll be harder to make moves like this in the future.

    There will be fewer opportunities for players to just pick where they want to go and money will end up being a bit tighter, so there will be players out there who can change the game that will be available to Phoenix.

    Sarver has to show, right now, in the next 2 seasons, that he has a model on place to make sure the valley is an attractive destination.

  • Big Black Boykins BBC


  • Mel.

    Big, you’re a Suns fan? I never would have figured it; thought you’d be repping NOLA, or LAL.

    Wonders never cease!

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Chris -

    Did you ever notice how many pro athletes in all sports make their off-season homes in the Phoenix area (Scottsdale, Paradise Valley etc.) compared to Houston, San Antonio and others?

    The winter weather here is much better than those areas that you mention (including L.A.). We get only two inches of rain here a year during the winter and half of a million snow birds.

    I lived in L.A. for 46 years, and it is much better here.

  • JT’s Hoops Blog

    Dudley and Brown, are both strikingly similar in that they are the same type of of player. Both of them are primarily transition players nand are just spot players. they are in no way any type of impacft player to say the least. the Suns are just surrounding nash witrh more and more mediocre talent.

  • SunsRiseUp

    SBrown throw it down! Shannon joins a solid core and will lead Suns back to post-season.