Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown’s ascension to stardom

NBA Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NBA Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics are currently riding a five-game winning streak due in large part from the impressive play of Jaylen Brown

The Boston Celtics are living lavishly as they’re in the midst of a five-game winning streak. Within their win streak, they’ve had a couple of impressive road victories over fortified playoff teams (Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors). Throughout the first 29 games of the season, the Celtics are continuing to solidify themselves as a legitimate contender.

Their recent success has been in large part a result of Jaylen Brown’s surgical play as of late. Over the last five games he’s averaged 26.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists on 60.1 percent shooting; managing to put up 25-plus points in four out of the last five games. More importantly, they have all resulted in victories, as the Celtics hold on to the second seed in the Eastern Conference with a 22-7 record.

Jaylen Brown is currently playing his best basketball in his young NBA career. After a disappointing season a year ago, the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft is finally honing in on his talents, while, proving that he’s worth the four-year, $115 million extension he signed prior to the season.

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Last season was a nightmare for the 22-year-old. In his third year – a season where most players begin to ascend – Jaylen Brown dealt with a variety of issues that compromised his ability to effectively contribute. He posted averages of 13.0 points per game and 4.2 rebounds.

Many solely blame Kyrie Irving for the stalled development of Brown, as well as Jayson Tatum. On the contrary, there was actually a multitude of factors that played into the Celtics disaster of a season a year ago. And although Kyrie’s poor leadership played a large part in the Celtics mishaps, Brown’s displeasing season was a result of an overly-crowded frontcourt, multiple injuries, an ego-filled locker room, and numerous ball-dominant players.

All things considered, Jaylen Brown was able to work on his craft in the offseason and, now, provide some All-Star level production. Meanwhile, entering the 2019-20 season, Boston’s roster and culture began shifting in Brown’s favor. As a result, the 6-foot-7 forward started the year with a role more suited for his skillset – finally maximizing his basketball expertise.

His most notable performance, in recent weeks, came in a victory against the Raptors on Christmas Day – snapping Boston’s eight-game losing streak in Toronto. He scored 30 points, collected six rebounds, and dished out four assists while relentlessly carving up the Raptors No. 5 ranked defense on all three facets.

He then followed that display of his talent by dropping a career-high (34) two days later against the Cleveland Cavaliers. At 23 years of age, Jaylen Brown became the second-youngest Celtic to record back-to-back 30-point games (Paul Pierce).

Furthermore, his consistent play throughout the year has dissipated all the negative criticism that he received shortly after signing his contract extension.

Jaylen Brown’s increased involvement within the offense is resulting in a season where he’s posting averages of 20.7 points and 7.0 rebounds, on an efficient 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.

He’s attempting 14.8 field goals per game and converting them at a higher percentage (52.1), as opposed to his 10.7 field goal attempts a season ago. Along with his increased attempts per game, the California product is also averaging a career-high in drives (8.8) and is converting those drives at a 50.5 percent clip. Meanwhile, shooting 38.7 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-point opportunities.

The collection of his aggressiveness to attack the rim, improved shooting stroke, and newfound shot-making abilities, have him rounding out into a truly dynamic star.

Along with Brown’s new and improved offensive game, he still remains one of the best defenders in a league where two-way players are as valuable as ever. His ability to lock down an opponent on one end, and score at an efficient rate on the other, makes him a rare talent in today’s NBA.

His defensive prowess is apparent from his 1.1 steals per game (career-high) and DFG%, or defensive field goal percentage, of 42.9 percent.

As it stands, Brown is mirroring a career similar to Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler.

In Butler’s third season he averaged 13.1 points, 2.6 assists, and 4.9 rebounds. The next season (Most Improved Player) he posted averages of 20.2 points, 3.3 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game.

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The numbers from Jaylen Brown’s last two seasons are nearly identical, if not better, to the four-time NBA All-Star. If Brown continues to shape his game similarly to JB’s,  then Boston will continue to be exceptionally successful this season and pose as an elite threat in the postseason with their big three of Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and rising star, Jaylen Brown.