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Shannon Brown or Sasha Vujacic: Which Player Fits the Lakers Best?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2010

BOSTON - JUNE 08:  Shannon Brown #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Numerous media outlets are reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers are shopping the expiring contract of guard Sasha Vujacic around the NBA in a possible attempt to clear up cap space with the intentions of re-signing Shannon Brown.

Brown is rumored to have received a contract offer from the New York Knicks, and Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak has previously stated one of his main directives for the offseason was re-signing Brown.

Rumors say Kupchak has been in discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about the possibility of acquiring Delonte West, who just came over from Cleveland, in exchange for Vujacic.

Most Laker fans seem to prefer Brown's athleticism and energy over Vujacic's inconsistency, but that may be because of coach Phil Jackson's decision to limit Vujacic's playing time.

Vujacic was once seen as an important piece to the Lakers' team, but as his shot began to fall less, and his scrappy defense became less consistent, he fell out of favor with Jackson.

Vujacic doesn't have Brown's athleticism, but he does have qualities which make him just as valuable to the Lakers, although Kupchak seems to favor Brown's potential over Vujacic.

Brown has the tools to be a superior defensive player, but he trails Vujacic in defensive fundamentals and discipline, and if Sasha could ever regain his confidence, he is a far better perimeter scorer.

At times Brown appeared to be lost on the defensive end, and this was illustrated in the Lakers' playoff series against the Phoenix Suns where Brown was constantly caught out of position.

Brown's confusion on how to defend the Suns' pick and roll often led to him double teaming in the post, while leaving the perimeter wide open for the Suns' capable perimeter scorers.

Vujacic saw more minutes in the Suns' series than he did at any time during the postseason mostly because of Brown and Farmar's inability to read screens correctly.

Vujacic, for the most part performed admirably, but his decent defense was lost in a crucial defensive mistake that could have cost the Lakers Game Six.

A flagrant foul by Vujacic at the start of the fourth quarter in Game Six fueled a Suns' run that didn't end until Kobe Bryant hit a ridiculous three-pointer over Grant Hill while falling out of bounds.

Vujacic was given a chance to redeem himself in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals when he stepped to the free throw line late in the fourth quarter, and calmly sank two crucial shots.

That showed Vujacic's confidence in his own abilities, and under the circumstances, who would you have rather had at the free throw line at that moment, Brown or Vujacic?

But in all fairness, Vujacic has never lived up to the merits of the contract he signed a few years back, while Brown has dazzled Laker fans with an array of aerial acrobatics.

Brown doesn't shoot as well as Vujacic, but he can hit a spot-up three every now and again, and if he can ever fully adapt to the triangle offense, Brown could be a terror with his quick first step.

Vujacic's energy and the enthusiasm he brings to the defensive end of the floor would surely be missed, but Brown's bigger potential upside makes Vujacic expendable.

Brown did play a much larger role for the Lakers last season than Vujacic, and it's easy to understand the financial merits in Kupchak's decision to possibly part ways with the former fan favorite.

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