Year after year, his statistics climbed, culminating in a spectacular junior year where he was selected to the All-Big Ten Defensive Team. Shannon averaged 17.2 points a game in his final year as a Spartan, shooting close to 40% from deep while playing over 35 minutes a contest.
His rebounds, assists and steals that final year close to doubled the totals from his freshman year, setting the stage for a first-round NBA selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006.
Brown’s first year in the NBA was limited by a shin injury, and as a result he played a shade over 11 minutes a game, producing only 4.7 points on 37.3% shooting. This marked the beginning of a back and forth experience between the NBDL and playing time with Cleveland. Prior to his February trade to Chicago, Shannon played in 38 games for the Cavs and 12 games in the DL, where his averages spiked.
Brown produced 22.6 points per game on a little more than 36 minutes, including a stand-out game as a member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers where he dropped 37 points on 13-24 shooting. After his extremely successful stint in the DL, Brown was bounced between Chicago and Charlotte where he had little playing time to exhibit his talents. His numbers hovered around the same levels in only 6 games for the Bulls and 30 as a member of the Bobcats.
On February 7, 2009, Shannon gained the opportunity of a lifetime. During the 2008 Playoffs, of which many a Laker fan would rather forget, Vladimir Radmanovic exhibited horrendous defense and shot selection while playing against Paul “Wheelchair” Pierce (I’ll pause briefly for the collective head-shaking of LakersNation). 2009 finally marked the year the Lakers would wash their hands of Vlad-Rad, and in such, they gained the high-flying Brown.
In his Laker debut, Shannon dropped jaws with his near block of Mario West on a fast break where he snatched the ball clear off the backboard. Fans across the league would soon see the best of his 44.5 inch vertical leap.
Brown saw limited minutes in his first games, but would see those minutes double in the Lakers’ postseason run to the title. He played 13 minutes per game and scored only 5 points on average, but shot 48% from deep. But more than what the numbers can say, he continued to step up and make huge plays.
In Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals versus the Denver Nuggets, he shot 3-5 with the biggest coming at the end of the shot clock during an 11 point fourth quarter run. He also posterized Chris “Birdman” Anderson on a break towards the end of the third quarter, when the Lakers were down. If a momentum play was needed, the Lakers could rely on Shannon to make the move. Kobe would describe him as the “spark we needed,” and that eventually turned the momentum towards the Lakers with a 3-2 series lead.
On his way to ring number two, Shannon left a much bigger imprint on the league with his performance. During the course of the season, Brown saw his averages reach career highs. He scored 8 points a game on 20 minutes while earning bests in rebounds and assists. His name couldn’t be kept from announcers’ mouths as he was the recipient of a fan-propelled movement called “Let Shannon Dunk” in efforts to get him to All-Star weekend in Dallas.
While the contest eventually ended in disappointing fashion for Brown, his dunks would not cease to impress. In a tide-turning Game 6 of the NBA Finals the Lakers blew out the hated Boston Celtics 89-67, Shannon’s monster alley-oop became a statement to the Celtics that the Lake Show would not go down without a fight.
And they didn’t, winning a memorable game 7 to secure their 16th championship.
Halfway through his third season with the Lakers, Shannon has showed off the results of an outstanding off-season work ethic where he endlessly worked on his mid-to-long range games. His numbers are already worthy of Sixth Man Award consideration, proving to be an integral piece to the Lakers’ bench success. He’s shooting 45% from the field including a career best of 43% from deep.
Brown has helped the Lakers reach the ladder in terms of team shooting percent rankings in comparison with seasons past. Shannon has also earned career bests in rebounding (2.3 per game), assists (1.3), steals (0.8) and points (10).
Coupled with his recent nuptials with R&B singer Monica, signs all point up for Shannon Brown. His hard work and determination have earned him a spot amongst the most exciting players to watch in the NBA. He’s a perfect example of what can come when you put your mind to bettering yourself.
On the world’s biggest stage, his performances constantly show why he is a big part of the Lakers’ success. It’s rare to come across players that make you excited to watch basketball, and after enduring a long journey to becoming an NBA success, it’s up to the league’s best fans to continue to shine the spotlight on him.