Jaylen Brown just got PAID!! Right before this season began, the Celtics forward signed a 4-year $115 million contract extension. That comes out to Brown making $28.75 million a year. Star player money. Nearly everybody besides Jaylen stans (such as myself) thought this was a ridiculous contract to dish out to a player who has yet to prove himself as a star in this league. Many players get paid the big bucks and then no longer feel like they need to give it their all on the court. Jaylen Brown, however, is playing like an absolute stud to prove he deserves this money. Let this season be known as “The Year of Jaylen”.
3 Games In
3 games are certainly not a reasonable amount of time to start placing any legitimate labels on anybody. I won’t be caring about his counting stats whatsoever through these three games, but rather his approach. His approach has been a key reason as to why the Celtics are 2-1.
In the season premiere against Philly, Brown got into foul trouble and only played 20 minutes. Boston lost that game 107-93. We can perhaps determine that some of this loss was due to Jaylen and his stellar defense having to stay on the bench. For reference, when he was in the game Jaylen held Al Horford to 0 points and Tobias Harris to 1 point. Horford and Harris were the two players Jaylen was primarily matched up against. Al finished with 16 points and Tobias finished with 15. Having Jaylen available for more than just 20 minutes very well may have changed the result of the game.
The Celtics and Jaylen secured a win in the home opener versus Toronto 112-106. The best player for either side in that game was undoubtedly the man of the hour, Jaylen Brown. He finished with 25 points, 4 assists, and 9 rebounds. Avoiding foul trouble, he was able to play a whopping 38 minutes in the game. Brown got the team going early with 6 first quarter points as well as an assist and 3 rebounds. When the game was close in the 4th, Jaylen hit a giant 3 to put Boson up by 4 in what would end up being the last bucket of the game before Jayson Tatum knocked down 2 free throws. During the game, Jaylen was primarily matched up with Pascal Siakam and held him to 5-12 shooting from the field. He spent some time on Lowry as well and only allowed 2 field goals.
The night after the home opener, Boston traveled to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks. The game ended in a Celtics demolition 118-95. Jaylen was not the top guy for Boston as Cardiac Kemba finally arrived and dropped 32 points. Jaylen went for 19 points and played phenomenal defense along the way. He guarded Julius Randle and Kevin Knox for more than 75% of the game and held them to 6 total points (Randle 4, Knox 2).
Overview of First 3 Games
One thing to note from these first 3 games is that Jaylen is never turning the ball over. He has 4 turnovers total so far. This is mainly impressive because of how much he is handling the ball and traveling to the rim. Even the best players lose the ball from time to time when taking it into the teeth of the defense. He’s been making the right plays and being patient with the ball. With no Kyrie, everybody seems to be playing far more comfortable. It was as if they were afraid to take the shot even it was the right play because of how Kyrie would react. The team is playing free and confident, and Jaylen is leading the charge!
Rest of the Season
Everything I have said thus far in this article is a wash if Jaylen decides to suck from here on out. I have enormous confidence that this won’t be the case luckily. The reason I am so confident in Jaylen this season lies all within his playstyle. As long as he plays in your face defense and makes the right play on offense, he has nothing to worry about. His performances haven’t been one hot night or some lucky balls going in the basket, but instead a result of playing smart basketball. I’m curious to see how things will go defending Giannis and the Bucks on Wednesday night. For the hell of it, I’ll give Jaylen Brown a season-long stat prediction, 19ppg, 7rpg, 2.5apg.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)