Brown Looks and Sounds Like He's Ready To Take a Leap

BOSTON – While nearly every teammate and coach trickled off of the Auerbach Center practice court and into the locker room Thursday afternoon, and while a hoard of media members patiently waited, Jaylen Brown hung around after practice to put in extra work.

A full extra hour of extra work, to be exact.

From sharpening his dribbling skills, to honing one-handed kick-outs to the corner, to draining mid-range jumpers and 3s, Brown worked on many areas of his game while the media looked on, all with the goal of proving to the world this season that he’s far from reaching his ceiling.

“I didn’t peak in my second year,” he stated with a tinge of irritation, as sweat beaded off of his brow.

This 22-year-old is still very much blossoming as a basketball player.

“A lot of times people try to pin you in a box and say this and say that,” Brown said, “but every year I try to continue to come out and get better and progress, even if I don’t get to display it in whatever role (I have).”

With the departures of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Marcus Morris, that role is surely to expand this season. He’s expecting much more of the offensive load to fall on his shoulders.

“I definitely will have more opportunities this year than I did last year, obviously with the loaded roster that we had last year,” Brown said. “This year, I think I have some responsibility – I have to be accountable; I have some responsibility to make sure that I come out and perform for my teammates.”

One way to ensure that he does so? By putting in the work.

While Brown is confident, he certainly is not arrogant. He understands that he needs to improve in order to perform at the level he and his teammates need and expect. One area that requires improvement is his ability to make plays for himself and others off the dribble.

Brown is one of the most athletic wings in the NBA. His first step and leaping ability are top-notch. They are what helped to make him Boston’s best driver last season, in the eyes of his head coach, Brad Stevens.

“The guy that probably got to the rim the best last year, or at least against the best defenses, was Jaylen,” Stevens said Thursday. “That’s what Jaylen does.”

Yet still, Brown ranked only third on the Celtics in field goals made per game off the drive, and fifth in field goal percentage off the drive. Brown has worked daily since the end of last season with the intention of sharpening the tools that will improve his driving efficiency.

“Getting stronger, but also making the right reads, making the right plays, seeing it before it happens,” Brown said of what he’s worked on. “Getting stronger, getting more balanced, tightening up ball handling. Stuff like that makes it easier to finish the ball.”

The fourth-year wing showcased flashes of improvements in these areas during his summertime stint with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. He’s confident that those improvements will show through at an even higher level while he serves as one of the top options for Boston’s offense.

“I don’t have any doubt,” he said, “and I believe in my ability.”

Brown sure looks and sounds like a player who’s ready to take a leap this season.

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