We have known for some time the Lakers’ final cut would come down to Metta World Peace or Jabari Brown. I discussed who I thought the final cut would be, but that was only speculation. Today is the deadline to make the actual move and, per Shams Charania, the decision has been made.
The Los Angeles Lakers are waiving guard Jabari Brown, allowing Metta World Peace to make 15-man roster, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 26, 2015
As I wrote, this was what I expected to happen. From my post:
While I think Brown has talent, I do not think his scoring is so valuable within the context of this roster that it outweighs the intangibles Metta brings to the team. Of course, the argument could be made that Brown’s (scoring) redundancy with Clarkson, Williams, and Young is matched by Metta’s (leadership) redundancy with Kobe, Hibbert, and Bass. That’s totally fair, but I think if pitted against each other, what Metta brings has slightly more value to this specific roster at this specific time.
Ultimately, I think this is what matters the most here. Brown likely deserves to be on some team’s roster as his game will likely only show more growth and maturity in the coming seasons. But what the Lakers really need is for the young players they have true investments in (Randle, Russell, Clarkson, Nance, and Anthony Brown) to take the type of strides forward which make Jabari an afterthought. If Metta can help accelerate that development — especially for Randle, but for Brown and Nance too — that’s probably worth a roster spot this season.
The fact this came down to the final day tells me this decision was not easy for the Lakers’ front office. I think they truly value Brown’s talent and believe, with continued development, he has a chance to be a reserve scorer who can have a positive impact on the team.
However, what this ultimately comes down to is, if neither of the players kept are going to play much, what do you value more? In this specific case, the argument tilts towards Metta and the intangibles he provides in terms of leadership, mentoring, and how he can aid the team in practice outweighs what Brown brings in those same areas.
There’s also an argument to be made that, unless he’s getting real minutes, developing Brown gets harder. A young player like him needs reps. The only way he gets those with the Lakers is if he’s playing ahead of guys who are better than him or if he’s sent down to the D-League. Clearly, the Lakers did not want to keep a player on their final roster whose major contributions would come on the D-Fenders.
Hopefully Brown catches on with another NBA team, gets a good offer in Europe, or, if he ends up in the D-League, gets a call up early in the year. As I noted above, he has talent and plays with a demeanor I really like. It just so happens he’s the odd man out with this Lakers’ team.