We’ve heard all of the takes about Jaylen Brown over his career and even before he got into the NBA. It was said he’s too smart (????), it’s now been spun too he’s too intelligent for his own good, he’s a bust, he can’t do this, he can’t do that. There has been quite a bit of dot connecting and for whatever reason, Jaylen’s been put in the doghouse by many. I am here to tell you that you need to leave Jaylen Brown alone, he’s been an important piece of this team, and he will continue to be an important piece.
Since moving to the bench, Jaylen has found himself after struggling in the starting lineup. In 22 games as a starter Jaylen has averaged 11.8/4/1.2 on 41.5%/26.1%/63.3% shooting splits in 28 minutes per night. As a reserve, he’s flipped the script, averaging 12.6/4.5/1.7 on a far more efficient 47.8%/38.7%/68.7% shooting in just 23.9 minutes per night. If you look at his advanced numbers, he’s also posted an offensive rating of 106 and a defensive rating of 107 as a reserve, compared to his 93 and 106 as a starter. Those numbers tell me one thing: he’s always been defending but his offensive game has flourished in his new role.
It’s easy to point at the fact that he’s on the court with reserves most of the time but I really don’t put too much stock into that. With how this team works in terms of rotations, it isn’t a concrete bench and starters concept. By that I mean Brad staggers a lot of players, and plays with lineups, so basically everyone is playing against everyone. For example, he can close the game with the regular Irving/Smart/Tatum/Morris/Horford lineup, or he can swap someone out for Jaylen, Gordon, Baynes, etc. so Jaylen does see a lot of time against starter level talent.
It’s more of a product of him just being more comfortable in his role and embracing it. It’s not easy to go from being pegged as the next great Celtic at 21 years old and then being relegated to the bench a number of months later. I commend him for how well he’s made this transition and how for the team he’s been. In his new role, we’ve seen some great performances and flashes of what Jaylen could become as he develops.
This game against San Antonio on NYE is a prime example of this. He took this game over and while the Celtics struggled and inevitably lost the game, it was by no fault of Jaylen. It’s all about how aggressive he is because it can be seen that when he’s barreling downhill and getting to the rim, the rest of his game opens up. He’s so explosive off of the dribble and it makes opposing players close-out a bit softer than they otherwise may when he’s playing aggressive. This extra room he gets gives him a slight advantage, but for Jaylen, it can be seem how important this slight advantage is.
The Brooklyn game he came with that same energy and that same urgency. You know Jaylen is feelin’ it when he has monster dunks like this. He’s an athletic freak and he’s used that to his advantage time and time again as a reserve.
I’m kind of just sifting through YouTube right now watching Jaylen Brown highlights so I decided to toss up his performance against Indiana for good measure. All of these games look the same in my opinion in terms of his style of play and overall feel for the game. It all starts with driving to the basket, and then everything else falls into place from there.
Even last game in Atlanta he hit some big shots down the stretch to help the Celtics eventually knock off a pesky Hawks team. When there were rumblings of Jaylen being moved to the bench this is exactly what the vision was. A tough minded scoring option that can open up things inside with his driving as well as step out and knock down a three when needed. This whole stretch has been a great one for Jaylen and he will key as the Celtics try to go on a tear and re-establish themselves atop the Eastern Conference. So listen to me, leave Jaylen Brown alone, he’s doing just fine.
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