The stoicism in Anthony Brown’s voice partly reflected his understanding why the Lakers’ rookie guard/forward has played limited minutes in three games.
“I haven’t really had a chance to digest it,” said Brown, whom the Lakers drafted 34th overall. “I’ve learned a lot every day just by being here. Even though I’m not playing, I’m still learning.”
Brown shared how he has learned more about the game’s pace and how to play efficiently. But he received a more valuable lesson when the Lakers sent him to the D-Fenders, their Development League affiliate.
On Tuesday night against the Bakersfield Jam, Brown posted 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, a 3-of-10 clip from 3-point range, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and three turnovers in 32 minutes. Brown plans to play on Friday against Santa Cruz and on Saturday against Reno before rejoining the Lakers on Sunday.
Scott said he plans to feature Brown in the D-League for the next two months.
“I want to get him to the point where he’s playing a lot of basketball with the D-Fenders,” said Scott, who wants Brown to work on his ballhandling. “Then when we bring him back up, he can fit right in.”
Brown could emerge in the lineup before that. But that would depend on the play of Lakers forward Metta World Peace. The 36-year-old World Peace had taken away minutes from Brown at small forward after surprising the Lakers with his conditioning. World Peace has averaged only 7.3 points on 43.6 percent shooting in 19.1 minutes per game, but he has lifted the Lakers on defense and with his mentorship.
“He’s a little bit more valuable than I expected him to be,” Scott said. “When it gets to the point where he’s not, if it gets to that point, then we’ll play Anthony.”
Amid that unlikely scenario, Brown has consulted Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson on why he should relish his D-League experience.
Clarkson rarely played in the first part of his rookie season last year. Though he sat in 23 of the Lakers’ first 43 regular-season games, Clarkson averaged 22.6 points on 50 percent shooting in 36 minutes through five games with the D-Fenders. After Kobe Bryant suffered a season-ending right shoulder injury, Clarkson then became the the Lakers’ starting point guard. He averaged 15.8 points on 45.8 percent shooting, five assists and 4.2 rebounds in 32.1 minutes through 38 games as a starter, numbers that secured him a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie First team.
“I talked to him about how it helped him,” Brown said. “For him, it helped his confidence. When he came back, he was ready to go right away.”
Will Brown be ready to go right away?
“Anthony Brown is no different than what Jordan Clarkson was last year,” Scott said. “We’re hoping we have the same results too. Jordan ended up being pretty damn good. Anthony has a pretty good chance of being pretty damn good as well.”