Why Jabari Brown Can Be the Los Angeles Lakers’ Biggest Surprise Next Season

With the Los Angeles Lakers' cringe-worthy record transitioning into the excitement of the upcoming NBA draft, smaller stories can get lost in the shuffle. A case in point is Jabari Brown, an unheralded shooting guard who could become L.A.'s biggest surprise next season.

Brown went undrafted last June and subsequently did time with the Lakers' NBA D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. While there, he happened to become the D-League's top scorer for the 2014-15 season, averaging 24.4 points per game. And by March, the injury-decimated parent team called him up, and he was given a chance to showcase his talent on the main stage. 

The 6'5" guard survived his first 10-day contract and then his second before the Lakers decided to keep him for the remainder of the year. He averaged 9.4 points per game in March and 14.8 points in April. And then he capped his unlikely rookie season off with a 32-point blizzard, playing all 48 minutes against the Sacramento Kings. 

Unexpected stories can sometimes have happy endings—Brown wound up with a nonguaranteed multiyear contract for his efforts.

During his season-ending exit interview in April, per Lakers.com, the 22-year-old put his circuitous journey into perspective.

"It was definitely one of the hardest things, but my basketball career hasn't been all glitz and glamour," Brown said. "I've been through some ups and downs, so that prepared me."

It all started with an Oakland, California, kid who attended Oregon before transferring to Missouri. There, he met fellow transfer guard Jordan Clarkson. They became roommates and best friends, and they also bonded through the most trying of circumstances—their fathers were diagnosed with cancer during their junior season.

It's hard to imagine the private darkness the two teammates shared. But on the hardwood, they lit it up; Br...

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