Does Kobe Bryant Backup Anthony Brown Have a Future with the Los Angeles Lakers?

LOS ANGELES — Anthony Brown’s first NBA start was a 40-point drubbing against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played 27 minutes, missed seven of nine shots and had the thankless task of guarding the perpetually irrepressible Kevin Durant. 

It was a classic “welcome to the NBA!” day for Brown—who the Los Angeles Lakers selected with the 34th overall pick in last year’s draft. The surreal news of his upgraded role arrived with very little time to brace himself.

“Kobe was in the training room, and I guess he told somebody he couldn’t go,” Brown told Bleacher Report. “And then [Lakers head coach Byron Scott] came up to me and was like ‘You’re gonna be starting tonight, and you’ve got KD,’ and I was like 'Alright…cool.’ ” 

Brown was glued to the bench in four of L.A.’s next six games, but he’s been a solid two-way contributor in the Lakers’ rotation since a New Year’s Day win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Now that Lakers medical staff is reportedly advising Kobe to rest his Achilles for 1-2 weeks, expect to see Brown on the court much more.

His individual statistics aren’t special, but thanks to a promising three-point stroke and reassuring size on the defensive end, Brown’s given the Lakers a few reasons to keep him around for the long haul.

“He can guard multiple positions,” Scott said. “I love the fact that he goes out there, he’s physical with guys, he gets into guys on the defensive end, and that’s something we need.” 

Brown’s situation is strange, but it works to his benefit. The Lakers are rebuilding, and more focused on the future than today. Valuable contracts really matter: Brown is guaranteed $700K this year and $874K in 2016-17 before his salary bumps to $1.01 million in 2017-18, w...

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