When the NBA playoffs come back around, fans are going to have high expectations for several Boston players. Fans will expect Jayson Tatum to come back and torch everybody like he was from January to March. People might expect Kemba Walker to step up in the playoffs and show us why he’s called “Cardiac Kemba.”
Players like Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker should make a lot of noise during the postseason. They will surely have to be impactful if the Celtics even want to dream about making it to the Finals. There’s one player in Boston who I believe will make an impact just as significant, if not a bigger impact than both of those guys. His name is Jaylen Brown.
Jaylen Brown has arguably been the Celtics’ most consistent player all year long. He’s had his bumps in the road and was dealing with a handful of injuries throughout the season. But the jump that he’s made this year isn’t talked about enough. This could be due to Jayson Tatum having an even bigger jump, statistically at least.
Jaylen came off a season being benched, ridiculed, and had his name regularly brought up in trade rumors. Besides all of this, he stayed focused and came into this season more motivated than he’s ever been. Even with all the criticism that he’s receiving for such a massive contract extension, he used that to light a fire within him.
Brown has played 50 games this season and has only scored less than 10 points in five of those games. Fun fact: he has as many 30+ point games this season as he does games where he scored less than 10. He’s even had 20+ points in 30 games this season.
We can talk about Jayson Tatum and how much of a tear he was on towards the end of the season, which he was. But, Jaylen Brown was right alongside him the entire way. In March, Tatum was averaging 24.8 points, while Brown was averaging 22 points a game.
Throughout the entire season, Tatum averaged only 3.2 more points than Brown, while Brown’s field goal percentage (49%) is higher than Tatum’s (45%), and Tatum’s three-point percentage (40%) is only slightly higher than Brown’s (38%). This is due to Tatum having a slow start to the year. He didn’t really start to “break out” until January came around. That’s why I say Jaylen Brown has been more consistent throughout the entire year.
Enough about offense, let’s focus on defense. Jayson Tatum will one day become a two-way superstar. He’s already an above-average defender, but Jaylen has already emerged as a top two-way player in the league. It’s unbelievable how both of these guys are going to be an unstoppable duo on both the offensive and defensive end.
Come playoff time, I expect Jaylen Brown to be as consistent as he always was. We have yet to see any clips of Jaylen Brown putting up shots in the Auerbach Center. But I’m confident he’ll come back and ready to get going. I don’t expect Tatum to come back scoring 30+ points a game like he was doing before COVID hit. But I do expect Jaylen to come back and put up around 20 points a game. Plus, he’ll play defense at an elite level like he’s been doing all year long.
In years past, Jaylen Brown has proved himself in the playoffs. During his sophomore year, he averaged 18 points (47 FG%, 39 3PT%) during a playoff run that ended in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Although his stats weren’t jaw-dropping, last year Brown was one of the only Celtics players who had a decent playoff run. He’s reaching a whole new level. With that in mind, his performance this upcoming postseason may be better than anything we’ve ever seen from him.
The fact of the matter is, players like Jaylen, Jayson, and Kemba NEED to make a significant impact if the Celtics even want to get a sniff at the NBA Finals. They all bring something different to the table. But at the same time, they all provide the Celtics with scoring when they need it the most.
I’m anxious to see how all of these guys will play once the season starts back up in about a month and a half. But I have a good feeling about Jaylen Brown. I think he’s going to be just as good as he was throughout the season, if not better.
-Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck)
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