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Jaylen Brown continues to impress during second season with Boston Celtics

From NBA media reports

* Recap: Celtics 117, Bulls 92

Jaylen Brown understandably got a little overlooked in the shuffle surrounding the Boston Celtics. What with so much attention grabbed by bigger names and moves – Kyrie Irving’s arrival, Gordon Hayward’s injury, Avery Bradley’s and Jae Crowder’s defensive departures, rookie Jayson Tatum’s uncanny early 3-point accuracy, and so on – Brown’s move into Bradley’s spot and work in his second NBA season stayed a bit in the shade.

Not anymore, though, thanks to a piece by ESPN’s Chris Forsberg on Brown’s value in helping the Celtics – with their 25-point blowout of Chicago Saturday, with Brown scoring 20 points – become the quickest team to 27 victories so far this season:

Slotted in Bradley’s starting 2-guard role, Brown has not only embraced the challenge of defending elite opposition, but has displayed strides in his own offensive game that has helped keep the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference for the past two months.


It’s sometimes easy to forget that a season ago, Brown was riding the rookie roller coaster and was a mistake away from getting yanked by coach Brad Stevens. … Even after Brown began to earn Stevens’ full trust at the end of last season, he still played a limited postseason role. Brown logged just 12.6 minutes per game while coming off the bench throughout Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals.


While the league’s defensive data can be noisy, it’s hard to ignore Brown’s advanced numbers. According to the NBA, Brown is holding his opponents to 8.7 percent below their typical average. Players are shooting a mere 36.8 percent against Brown overall, and he utilizes his length and athleticism to disrupt.

Brown downplays his individual impact but acknowledges that he must be a defensive-first player.

“That’s where I hang my hat. But I think it’s a team effort, defensively,” said Brown. “It’s very hard to guard somebody one-on-one, so it’s just everybody being engaged, defensively, and I just try to be one of those players.”

Brown’s improvement as a perimeter shooter and his eagerness to attack the rim have produced 14.7 points per game, some scoring punch to ease the loss of Hayward and Bradley. Forsberg notes that, in terms of analytics, the young wing has a sparkling net rating of plus-8.7 “To hammer home Brown’s overall impact,” the ESPN scribe writes, “he’s one of only two [Celtics] players with a negative net rating when he’s off the court (All-Star candidate Al Horford is the other).”

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