Celtics

Health, Growth Needed for Brown’s Next Step in Boston

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Nearly everything about the 2021-22 Boston Celtics is new.

They have a new roster, head coach, coaching staff and front office. With this novelty, the team is currently middling below .500 in the early part of the season.

Despite this newness, the Celtics have the same pillars of the franchise at the helm: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

THE ALL-NBA DUO

Tatum is off to a horrendous start so far. The usual model of efficiency is shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from three. This slump is not preventing him from getting shots up, as he’s firing a career-high 22 wrist-flicks per game– good for third in the NBA.

Tatum’s slow start can surely be an explanation as to why the Celtics are struggling early in the year. Time and time again, however, we’ve seen him elevate his play when needed most.

See his 50-point performance against the Nets last postseason.

We know what Tatum is capable of. He’s universally considered a top-15 player and a surefire future superstar. In due time, he’ll be back to his All-NBA ways which will help the C’s win more games.

The Dual J

So far this season, Jaylen Brown has been the best player on the team– and it’s not even close.

Regardless of two bad games earlier in the season, Brown is still averaging 25.6 points per game. He’s scoring at an elite clip while shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from deep. Brown has even improved on his weakness (free-throw shooting) to a career-high 78 percent.

If the Celtics want to overachieve this season, they need the version of JB that cements himself in that same top-15 conversation. In other words, the Celtics’ fate lies on whether Brown can elevate to All-NBA status this season.

FUTURE TWO-WAY SUPERSTAR

Brown seems to be continuing the trend of taking a major leap every offseason. He can be compared to three generational two-way wings in terms of early-career improvement: Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

All three entered the league as raw athletes known for their defense. Each year they added pieces to their games and all three became 20-point scorers around their fourth or fifth seasons.

Today, each have no weaknesses in their games. They can score from all three levels, defend perimeter stars, and facilitate an offense as the primary ball handler.

Brown has improved as a shooter since day one, hovering at an elite 38% for his career. He’s always had the ability to attack the basket with his athleticism, but his true improvement over the past two years is in his ball handling and shot creation– the same leaps the other three wings took to become superstars.

As the second option, Brown tends to disappear for stretches. He seems content to stand in the corner and watch instead of asserting himself throughout the entirety of the game. If Tatum and Brown want to be compared to the best duos in the league, Brown must play up to Tatum as Tatum plays up to Brown.

Tatum seems to be rounding back into form, coming off his 32-point and 11-rebound loss against the Dallas Mavericks. Brown, meanwhile, did not suit up and was recently ruled out for a 1-to-2 weeks due to a hamstring injury.

This roster is severely lacking in shot creation and scoring punch. Tatum and Brown theoretically should be the answer to that, but they’ve rarely played well in the same game this season.

If the young tandem can establish themselves as one of the best duos in the league, the Celtics have a chance to be a disruptor in the Eastern Conference. Tatum is already a multiple-time all-star and an All-NBA talent. Now, it’s time for Brown to make that leap.

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

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About Ahmed Warfa

Boston born and raised. Moved to Florida in 2019 to attend the University of Miami in Coral Gables. Always grew up a Boston sports fan and want to continue my career covering my hometown Celtics.

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