Anthony Brown was selected with the 34th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. While not a 1st rounder, his draft slot is one where real talent can be mined. Players who go that early in the 2nd round are usually either high upside players, Europeans who can be “draft and stash” prospects, or seasoned college prospects who are deemed “more ready to play”.
Brown fell into that latter category, or at least that was the assumption. A 5th year senior out of Stanford, Brown as an All-Conference performer and deemed one of the better 3-and-D prospects in the draft. In Brown’s rookie season he oscillated between DNP-CD’s and major rotation player when Kobe sat out games due to injury or for rest.
On the season Brown’s individual stats were not very good, but the team was better than its season’s metrics when he was on the floor. The Lakers’ offense was .2 points per 100 possessions better and their defense was 7.3 points per 100 possessions better when Brown was in the game. These numbers still represented an overall negative net-efficiency rating, but the Lakers were a bottom-two team in both categories so that is expected.
While these numbers reflect Brown’s inclusion in somewhat workable lineups, they are also only one piece of the puzzle. Should Brown want to become more than a fringe rotation player, his individual production must rise to a point where he’s having a positive impact on the floor — especially offensively.
I specifically cite offense because his defense is already at the NBA level. After Monday’s win over the Warriors, Brown expressed his belief that the’s the team’s best defensive player which, while potentially not true (I’d lean towards Nance), is at least arguable. When it comes to guarding, Brown has excellent physical tools, strong instincts, and plays hard. He takes pride in defending the other team’s top option and typically does a good job at it.
On the other end, though, Brown is a work in progress. Though a very good shooter in college, his accuracy has not yet translated to the pros. Last season he shot 28.6% from behind the arc, making only 20 of his 70 attempts. From two point range, he shot 33.9%, connecting on 19 of his 56 shots. Through 3 summer league games Brown has not fared much better hitting 2 of his 9 three-pointers, though he has gone 5-9 from inside the arc.
At some point, the trend from distance will need to reverse itself. His college shooting stats suggest he will get there eventually. While I do not have the research on this, I would imagine shooters who were as good as him in college generally retain that ability in the pros. Brown hit 44.6% of his 3’s on nearly 300 attempts over his final two years at Stanford. He really can shoot.
After the Warriors game, when Brown discussed what he needs to work on to grow as a player, he cited working on his off the dribble game. A tie-in to that is his ball-handling, passing, and general shot creation. In Monday’s win, Brown had a nice drive and finish when his man pressured him beyond the arc. It was the type of play NBA wings need to be able to make and reminded me of some of the things he would do at Stanford when he was a bigger focal point of the offense.
Brown clearly has his eyes set on being a multi-faceted wing, which is fine. The more things a player can do well on the floor, the more time he can expect to be on the floor. If Brown can add a more versatile and steady offensive game to pair with his defensive ability, he can be key rotation player in due time. But, part of that versatility will need to be hitting the 3-ball. There is no getting around that.
I still have high hopes for Brown. A late season injury, scattered and inconsistent playing time, and operating in an offense which was low on ball movement and did not create a lot of spot-up chances all contributed to Brown’s uneven rookie year. And while he goes into this season competing for minutes with a suddenly crowded wing rotation, his defense alone should put him in the conversation for spot minutes.
Still, though, he must make strides on the offensive end. He seems to understand that and is trying to become more well rounded. Here’s hoping his shot comes around in the process of improving his all-around game.
I’m a Brown fan. Frustrating his shot hasn’t been going in yet.
I hope to see him get a real opportunity this year though with a real coach and real offense. It really is hard to judge any talent last year. How can you get in any rhythm when you alternate with DNPs and when you do play, it’s with guys like Lou Williams ball stopping or Hibbert hand offs at the top of the key….ugh.
If this kid just keeps working and hustling good things will happen for him.
A Horse With No Name says
I want to believe in the guy but I am having a hard time watching him clank open looks and struggle to dribble against any resistance. Yes, he’s already a very good on the ball defender, but you have to be able to space the floor with some shooting–that’s his job description.
There is no doubt that AB will be on the roster opening night. He has a guaranteed contract, and even as defensive specialist only he’s going to get in a few games. Both the new offense and the coaching focus on youth development and 3pt shooting will help him. I had been hoping for shooting improvements to show up in the SL. Yet, other than Iceinhisveins, no one seems comfortable shooting the 3. I’m not that optimistic but I would love to be wrong.
Bazemore got 70 million over 4 years and his strengths are corner 3s, rebounding, and having long arms. It would behoove the Lakers to do everything they can to develop Brown into a rotation player since “3 and D’s” are so desirable. I agree that the shooting will come around and he is the best backcourt defender on the Lakers.
_Chris J says
Trevor Ariza couldn’t shoot well when he first entered the league, but he worked hard and found his niche. There is no reason to believe Brown can’t do similarly and find his touch as a shooter.
Anthony brown played scared last year under byron scott. Luke looks to get everyone involved this year, ab has a role, he has played well in these 3 games.
I’d note Brown shot 32% from 3pt range in the D-League with minutes. With consistent playing time and getting better looks out of a better offensive system I think he will get over the hump.
Well, Anthony Brown can guard, but he can’t shoot worth a crap. He couldn’t shot last season when he started a string of games with the main roster and he can’t shoot in summer league against lesser oposition. He doesn’t need a lot he needs to develop a consistent three point shot to go along his solid defense. He better gets it togheter because he is running out of chances. About Ingram, he got a reality check he is only 18 and he still going to fill up. Im 6’2 215 and im sure that even i can move him out of position. This is why the Mozgov signing make sense. He has the body to set up bone crushing picks to free up DAR, Clarkson and Ingram. Ingram has the tools, is just that his game is more mature than his body. This is why the Deng signing makes sense too. He should be the starter for the time being while the kid matures and learn the ropes from him. All in all the kids are looking pretty good. I hope it’s good enough to win more than 17 games.
_Chris J Ariza was known to be a slasher and an active defender who added a 3 ball to his game. Anthony Brown’s game as people knew it was to be a long-ball shooter. I expect him to miss every time, and for the most part he hasn’t disappointed. As much faith I have in the front office, they’ve had some misses in the draft. Just look at the Laker draft history, outside of our lottery picks. For every decent gem, there’s 3 times as many failures. I qualify AB to be in the latter.
A Horse With No Name says
chobebryant _Chris J
The percentage of second round picks who actually make it in the league is low. The lakers have done very well with their second round picks–certainly better than the average. And yes, I have my doubts that AB is going to be one of those who actually make it–as I’ve said here already.
My concern with the Deng signing is that last year he was a mediocre shooting forward. Once Bosh went down Deng moved to power forward and his stats improved significantly.
I fear Deng will be a drag while he’s on the floor as a Three. And, if he plays the Four where do Randle and Nash get minutes? Of course if this was a two year deal then it wouldn’t be an issue. However, years three and four of his contract will look ugly, in my opinion.
The Mozgov deal is similar in my mind. Zubac will start the season as the third string center. But I can see him supplanting Black by January as the second string center. Mozgov, even when healthy, is just a guy. It’s not inconceivable that Zubac starts to really challenge Timofey for playing time by the end of the season.
For all the success associated with hiring Walton and drafting well (the kids do look like they can play) the signings of Deng and Mozgov are really hard to rationalize. I don’t care if their deals will look good in three years when the cap escalates. I care about production on the floor and I don’t see either of these guys making contributions on the back half of their deals.
A Horse With No Name says
Agree that Deng best serves the team as a stretch four. But maybe fans are worrying too much about neat positional titles, when we have a position-less offense. To whit, Randle can play on the perimeter or the interior, as can Deng. Similarly to how a Randle and Nance forward pairing might work. I look forward to seeing how the pieces work in the new whole.
mattal That Deng contract will rival the absurdity of the MWP
contract.At least with Metta’s contract
one could justify the extension based on his assistance in moving the Lakers to
an additional championship.It will be
highly evident in 2017 how much of an albatross Deng’s contract will become.
When Kobe threatened to leave the team the Lakers actually
considered a straight up trade Kobe for Deng, if memory serves me right which
is not inconceivable that it does not.
I think Jesse Mermuy’s comments on Brown basically tell the tale