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:
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.
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