Celtics

Brown Cementing Unquestioned All-Star Status

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Jaylen Brown has taken the leap.

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The Cal product took some major heat after signing his four-year, $119 million extension with the C’s at the start of last season. He followed up the controversy with a borderline all-star performance the rest of the year.

The 6’6 guard averaged 20.3 points per game while shooting 48.1% from the field and 38.1% from three that season. More impressively, he maintained this level of play through the bubble playoffs, averaging 21.8 points per game on similar efficiency.

Tatum, Brown in Boston’s Driver Seat

THE BUDDING SUPERSTAR

To start this season, Brown has looked like the Celtics’ best player and a surefire first-time all-star with hopes of an All-NBA selection.

Boston has been decimated by COVID-19 absences, including five missed games from Jayson Tatum. For Jaylen, he’s given us a handful of superstar performances, including some record breaking outings in the absence of Tatum.

He dropped 42 points in just 28 minutes in a blowout victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. He scored 42 again in a January loss to the Sixers, but the record-breaking performance came against the Cleveland Cavaliers when Brown dropped 33 in just 19 minutes of play.

That’s the most points scored in under 20 minutes in NBA history.

HALL-OF-FAME EFFICIENCY

On offense, he’s torched the league with 26.7 points per game. What has been mind-boggling is the efficiency in which Brown is operating. He’s shooting 52.2% from the field and 42.7% from three.

Jaylen’s midrange shooting has been the biggest improvement this season. To bring it into further context, Kevin Durant is one of the greatest midrange shooters in NBA history. In a season when Durant is averaging 30 points per game, he’s shooting 52% on midrange jumpers.

According to NBA.com’s tracking statistics, Brown is shooting 51.8% so far this year– on nearly double the attempts from midrange compared to last season. It’s a clear difference from the Brown of old who didn’t have the confidence with his ball handling to get to his midrange jumper.

He’s hitting the catch and shoot three. He’s creating his own shot at a superstar clip and he’s getting to the basket with ease. Brown has been an elite defender since day one. The growth of his offensive game the past two seasons has propelled him into the top tier of two-way players in the league.

INJURY CONCERNS?

Brown missed his first game of the season with a troublesome sore knee for the marquee matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. Brad Stevens said “he’s dealing with the intensity of all the games that have come before that he hasn’t missed any of. So hopefully it’s not something long term. We’re certainly on top of it.” The C’s were cautious by sitting Brown the following game in a Super Bowl Sunday loss to the Phoenix Suns, dropping the team to 12-10.

The C’s can’t afford another star with lingering knee issues. Kemba Walker is still on a minutes restrictions dealing with the same knee from before the NBA’s shutdown last March. The All-Star point guard has been held to 27 minutes per game and is shooting an abysmal 35.7% from the field.

Tatum has missed five games. Kemba has missed 13. Brown missed back-to-back games prior to his 33-point return Tuesday night. Boston is running out of time to incorporate its three stars into the system before the postseason.

This is a different Celtics team this season without their do-it-all point forward in Gordon Hayward, who is flourishing in Charlotte. The bench is revitalized with young talent. Brown and Tatum have more responsibility on offense than they’ve ever had. The young duo has to find the pecking order with Kemba, but due to injuries and health-and-safety protocols, the trio is just 1-3 in four games together, including back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Lakers.

Boston is looking to right the ship and remain healthy for the remainder of the season, which will ultimately determine their direction. The C’s need Jaylen and Jayson to perform like a premier duo if they want a shot at the Eastern Conference title. Tatum has been spectacular, carrying on his superstar performance from the bubble.

Brown has looked like a bonafide star as well. If this trend continues, expect the duo to be well represented at the All-Star game and All-NBA stature.

Follow us on Twitter @CelticsLead for the latest Celtics news and insight. 

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About Ahmed Warfa

A senior at the University of Miami from Boston, Massachusetts. Always grew up a Boston sports fan and want to continue my career covering my hometown Celtics.

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