Both excitement and anxiety may creep into Jabari Brown’s mind when the Lakers (13-49) host the Utah Jazz (30-36) tonight at Staples Center, which will mark the last game he will play in his first 10-day contract.
But when Lakers coach Byron Scott plans to meet with general manager Mitch Kupchak after tonight’s game, it seems clear Brown will have at least one vocal supporter.
“Right now, I’d like to keep him for another 10 days and see how it goes,” Scott said. “I think he’s improved from what we had in the summer time to this time right now.”
It also helps that Lakers forward Nick Young will stay sidelined at least for another week after a CT scan showed a small fracture in his swollen left knee. But Scott also likes Brown’s play after averaging seven points on 60 percent shooting 20 minutes off the bench through three games with the Lakers, a stark increase when he posted a combined five points, two rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes through four exhibition games.
Scott reiterated the biggest difference has entailed Brown’s increased aggressiveness. The undrafted rookie from University of Missouri also showed that when he averaged a league-leading 24.4 points per game with the D-Fenders, the Lakers’ Development League affiliate. Though Scott would like Brown to improve his ball handling and defending the pick-and-roll, the Lakers’ coach praised how Brown took his criticism as constructive.
“He kept that in the back of his mind and revealed it the first day he had a chance to play,” Scott said. “He took it real well. He was wondering what were some of the things he had to do to get better like most young guys. I told him, ‘I didn’t see the aggressive part of you until the last preseason game or two. You have to have that attitude from day one as soon as you step on the court, just be aggressive and be physical in attacking the basket and get your shot off.'”