Patience Pays Off: Brown's Resurgence Continues vs. Indy
BOSTON – Jaylen Brown has always taken a patient approach to basketball. That’s because his patience always pays off.
The 22-year-old wing has employed that mindset more than ever this season, as he’s faced the challenge of adapting to a reduced role with the abundantly talented Boston Celtics.
At first, Brown struggled to adjust, as his efficiency dipped from the previous season. However, over the last month, he has made the most out of his opportunities while serving as a key cog for Boston’s second unit.
Against the Pacers Wednesday night, Brown came off the bench and logged a game-high-tying 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting to help lead the C’s to a 135-108 win at TD Garden. It marked his sixth occasion reaching the 20-point mark in his last 16 games, after not logging any such efforts during his first 19.
“I’m just adapting,” explained Brown, who also logged seven rebounds and three assists during 28-plus minutes of turnover-free basketball against Indiana. “We’ve got a lot of players, a lot of guys out there, so it’s just about trying to figure out who you are and where you fit into this team, and it’s going to continue to change. You’ve just gotta be patient, continue to work hard, and everything will fall into place.”
Things have changed quite a bit for the third-year wing since his sophomore campaign.
Last season, Brown started every game he played in, including 19 postseason contests in which he played 32.4 minutes per game while scoring an average of 18.0 points. The returns of both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving this season caused Brown’s minutes to drop down into the mid-20s, which at first made for a challenging adjustment period.
Brown shot 39.8 percent from the field and 25.3 percent from long range through his first 19 games in a starting role, before being moved into the second unit at the start of December. Since then, his shooting numbers have skyrocketed to 50.6 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from long range.
Brown’s per-36 numbers have also been excellent during the last 16 games, as he has averaged 19.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes.
“On offense, he’s starting to find himself,” said teammate Al Horford. “He’s starting to feel more comfortable. We all are with the way we’re playing. We all understand where our shots are going to come from, the type of shots that coach wants from us, and being aggressive going to the basket. So, I just think that as a unit we’re starting to understand how Coach wants us to play.”
Horford added that a role change can be difficult for anyone, but Brown’s adaptation has been particularly inspiring.
“He’s handled it really well,” the veteran big man said. “What I’ve noticed is that he’s really trying to figure out how he can be efficient and how he can make an impact.”
There are several aspects that Brown has improved upon over the course of the season in order to become more efficient in the time he’s allotted.
“Stronger cuts, better passes, better offensive decisions,” Kyrie Irving listed off. “It’s just things that you’ve got to mature as a player being on a great team … It’s tough for any young player, especially coming in and they have the expectations. But Jaylen’s doing a great job of just taking it all in, adjusting the best he can and learning from all of the veterans ahead of him.”
Most of all, Brown has done a great job at remaining patient as he’s adapted to his new role. Just look at how it’s paid off.