Lakers guard Jabari Brown impresses in rookie debut
Missouri rookie Jabari Brown made his NBA debut on Thursday night, scoring seven points in 17 1/2 minutes in the Lakers’ 101-94 loss to the New York Knicks.
“The lights are really bright,” said Brown of Staples Center, who went through training camp with the team, but was cut before opening night.
In the Lakers’ locker room before the game, Brown mulled over how he would score his first points in the NBA.
His hope was a dunk or layup, perhaps assisted by his former teammate at Missouri, fellow rookie Jordan Clarkson -- anything but a free throw.
“I think that sometimes those are the toughest shots to shoot, when there’s no defense,” said Brown.
When the 6-foot-5 guard checked in with just over three minutes left in the first quarter, it only took 46 seconds. Sure enough Brown was fouled by New York rookie Cleanthony Early, sending him straight to the line.
Brown hit his first attempt, splitting the pair. Just 37 seconds later, Brown converted his first field goal -- then two more before he missed.
“It feels good. I wish I could have got a win with it,” said Brown, as the Lakers fell to the worst team in the league for the second time in two tries this season.
Brown spent the last few months with D-Fenders, an NBA Development League All-Star averaging 24.4 points a game.
According to Coach Byron Scott, one of the reasons Brown didn’t stick beyond the preseason was a lack of aggression -- which clearly wasn’t an issue on Thursday. Brown finished with seven points on three of six shooting in 17 1/2 minutes.
“That’s something he told me, when he let me go,” said Brown on Scott’s advice to play more aggressively. “I wasn’t going to let that happen twice. If I’m going to make a mistake, I’m going to let it be something else.”
The last day of Brown’s $29,843, 10-day contract is Thursday. The Lakers can offer him a second 10-day, after which they’ll have to decide if he’s worth keeping around for the rest of the season.
Scott left impressed by Brown’s debut.
“Out of all our guys, I thought Jabari played the best,” said Scott. “I thought he did a pretty good job, for being just kind of thrown in there for that many minutes.”
The Lakers play again on Sunday, hosting the Atlanta Hawks (50-14).
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