Memo to Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar: The Lakers Need Your Help

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IApril 24, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10:  Shannon Brown #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers blocks the layup of Brandon Jennings #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks with Jordan Farmar #1 at Staples Center on January 10, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Lamar Odom is without question the most valuable member of the Los Angeles Lakers' reserves and one of the most versatile players in the NBA, but there are two other players on the Lakers' bench who are capable of having a positive postseason impact.

Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown have the potential to be important pieces in the Lakers' quest for a repeat, but so far their inconsistency has mirrored the rest of the team's for much of the season.

Brown and Farmar definitely have the ability and talent to make a difference for the Lakers, but finding out how to motivate them and get them to focus has been a different issue altogether.

Brown is the taller and stronger of the two, and ideally he is the player most would prefer when it comes to defending a player like the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook has terrorized the Lakers in the team's playoff series, and his penetration and strength has been something which veteran Derek Fisher has been powerless to stop.

Fisher lacks the size and foot speed to stay with Westbrook, and Brown is better suited in each category, but he lacks Fisher's defensive discipline. And when he is defending Westbrook, each possession becomes an adventure.

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Brown is a great athlete and has the potential for spectacular plays, but that athleticism doesn't help him when it comes to falling for head-fakes or failing to close out on shooters, and Brown is guilty of both.

But he has been a member of the Lakers long enough to understand what is expected of him, and his failure to grasp the small nuances of the game have to be disappointing considering his experience.

It's time for Brown to recognize the urgency of the moment; it's time for him realize how important consistent defense and disciplined play is to his team's chances in the postseason.

The Lakers don't need him to be a star, but they do need Brown to be a steady defensive presence when called upon, able to play with focus and intensity when he is in the game.

Farmar was once thought to be the point guard of the future for the Lakers, but instead his failure to progress his game has made him an expendable piece of the roster.

Farmar is smaller than Brown, but he may be quicker, is a great leaper, and has the ability to be a serious long-distance threat if he can find any semblance of consistency.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson has given Farmar every opportunity to succeed, playing him despite Farmar's tendency to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Farmar's issues are more dire than Brown's because Farmar has been a member of the team longer, but has yet to show the ability to be comfortable within the Lakers' scheme.

He often looks confused on the court on both ends, and even though he too has the ability to make spectacular plays, he is just as likely to make spectacular mistakes.

Farmar has the speed to guard a player like Westbrook, but he may be even less disciplined on defense than Brown, and he lacks the strength to be physical with Westbrook.

But, just as in Brown's case, the Lakers don't need Farmar to stop Westbrook or provide superior scoring; what they do need is for him to play with the focus and experience that his championship resume suggests.

Farmar and Brown were both pivotal pieces of the Lakers' championship march in 2009, and they both must rekindle their play of the past if Los Angeles hopes to reach that rarefied air again.

Neither Brown nor Farmar will ever get the acclaim that Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol will receive, but each can have just as much impact on this Lakers team—if they can remember their purpose.