Jaylen-Less Celtics Stumble Into Play-In


The Boston Celtics announced last week that all-star forward Jaylen Brown had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist and is estimated to resume basketball activities in three months.

This news is devastating for any chance of a deep Celtics playoff run. The news really adds insult to injury as the team has underperformed all season and has been sliding lately. Coach Brad Stevens will need to get creative with his rotations in efforts to replace the lost two-way production. Boston has lost five of their last six and is set to host the red-hot Washington Wizards for the 7-8 play-in game Tuesday night.

What You Are Losing in Brown’s Absence

Jaylen is a critical piece of Boston’s rotation and it’s very evident when he has not played this season. The Celtics are just 6-8 without his all-star presence. Brown’s production is very hard to replace as he was averaging career highs in points (24.7) and assists (3.4). Brown is a very gifted offense player, but the Celtics are going to feel the effects of play without him on the defensive end in the play-in as Brown is a great perimeter defender.

Who Needs to Step Up?

Replacing Brown’s two-way production will be nearly impossible. Evan Fournier, Aaron Nesmith and even Romeo Langford will be called upon to fill the hole. Fournier can be a dynamic scorer, but needs to be consistent for Boston to make any sort of run.

Nesmith has looked confident in the past few weeks with his hustle plays and nose for the ball. Fournier and Nesmith are the two main candidates to pick up minutes that would’ve been Brown’s. Langford could help make up for the loss of Brown on the defensive side of the ball and played well in the last game of the season against the Knicks in big-time minutes.

Keys to Boston Making Noise Down an All-Star

If the Celtics do have any magic in them, it will rely on the team’s health. Kemba Walker and Robert Williams will be needed the most, as they have been banged up the past few weeks. Another (obvious) key to this team’s success is Jayson Tatum playing at an MVP level without his Robin. Tatum has had some special moments throughout the season like his 60-point performance, but will need to have a lot more for success in the playoffs.

Lastly, the team needs to come together and find some sort of identity. 

How Will the Celtics Fair in the Play-in/Playoffs without Brown?

Without Brown it is really hard to believe that this inconsistent Celtics team could make any sort of run. The Celtics have not played a single game all season with their top-eight rotational players available. This trend will see itself through, so we will never really know what this team would actually look like fully healthy. If they do escape the play-in, they will be set up for a tough matchup against either top-seeded Philadelphia or second-seeded Brooklyn. 

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

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About Barrett Hodgson

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