Los Angeles Laker Shannon Brown Is Growing Up in Kobe Bryant’s Absence

With the status of Kobe Bryant's ankle to be determined, Shannon Brown is stepping up, maturing, and showing Lakers fans that he's a viable replacement for their all-time leading scorer should he need extended rest.

In his third year in the league, the former Michigan State standout is finally getting comfortable and beginning to showcase his athleticism.

Brown has logged in 38 and 37 minutes in his last two games, scoring 19 points and eight points respectively.

In his last five outings he has clocked in 27 minutes and 10.6 points per game. Those aren't exactly Bryant numbers, but he's doing what he's asked by filling the void left by No. 24.

The 40-13 Lakers (first place in Pacific Division) are eyeing their second consecutive NBA championship, and with solid bench play from the likes of Brown (and others), they're one of the favorites to take the hardware home in 2010.

The Lakers aren't exactly hurting at the guard position, and with Brown's versatility of playing the point or No. 2 slot, he presents a solid option to coach Phil Jackson regarding his use. 

Brown's performance just three nights ago against the Portland Trailblazers has opened eyes in glitzy Los Angeles. Brought in to be a role player and complement to Bryant, Brown's 19 points in the Lakers' 99-82 win have sparked a debate in some circles as to what his future with the franchise will be. 

There's no one that can take Bryant's place; that's not being questioned. He's arguably the greatest player of his generation, and a close second to His Airness, Michael Jordan, in a lot of people's books. The facts are that Brown can play both guard positions and, barring a collapse, may earn himself a starting job next year.

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