Lakers’ Shannon Brown puts the heat on himself


Shannon Brown is tired of being just a highlight show.

So tired that he subjected himself to “The Hotbox” this summer, logging hour after hour at the stifling Proviso East High gym in his home state of Illinois, where the air conditioning was an afterthought at best on sweltering July and August days.

He had his reasons.

“I want to definitely let the world, let everybody see that I’m more than just a dunker,” Brown said. “It’s what I’m known for, but I definitely have a lot more aspects to my game.”

He worked on his ball-handling skills and his outside touch, necessary improvements if he hoped to surpass the 8.1 points and 20.7 minutes a game he averaged last season.


He shot only 42.7%, a little low for a player who finished with as many dunks as he did.

Thus, the Hotbox.

“A lot of sweating, a lot of ball-handling, just getting up shots off of different movements, shots out of the triangle [offense] where I know I’m going to get them,” Brown said. “Coaches and my teammates get on me for not taking the [open] looks that I should take. That just comes from being a little bit too unselfish out there.”

Brown, who turns 25 next month, had 13 points on four-for-10 shooting in the Lakers’ 82-74 exhibition loss Tuesday against Utah at Honda Center, moving his preseason average to 11.2 points a game on 45.3% shooting.

The Lakers would like to see another thing from him — better defense.

“His athletic ability has got to really shine and give us that extra guy now that can defend and really shut someone down,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

Brown wasn’t even sure he would come back to the Lakers when last season ended, testing the free-agent market after opting out of a contract that would have paid him $2.15 million this season.


Utah made him an offer that was more or less financially parallel, so he stayed with the Lakers by signing a two-year, $4.6-million deal.

“This is hands-down the best situation, the best place, and everything,” he said.

Bryant struggles

Kobe Bryant had seven points on two-for-13 shooting in 23 minutes against Utah, continuing a frigid exhibition season. He has made 18 of 66 shots (27.3%).

“I think he just needs to play some ball and he’ll be fine,” Jackson said. “I think he’s getting some strength back. It looks to me like he’s trying to save a step still a little bit here and there defensively and it’s kind of hurting us a little bit at times, but he’ll pick that up when he gets his legs underneath him.”

The Lakers (2-4) shot only 33.3%. The Lakers have two more exhibition games before beginning the regular season next Tuesday against Houston.