As human beings, we tend to marvel when something begins to blossom in front of our own eyes. Take for example watching a painter slowly develop a masterpiece step by step. We awe in the pure beauty of the transformation. Watching something so extraordinary develop from the earliest stages. You can find examples of these types of evolution in various aspects of everyday life. But nothing is as beautiful as when it involves the game of basketball.
Watching a young player take another "leap" when it comes to their ability is one of the most beautiful aspects of the game of basketball. It's as if the world on the hardwood starts to slow down for them and they find themselves two steps ahead of the opposition. It always takes a different amount of time for various players to find that the game is finally slowing down. But as fans, when you start to notice that everything has started to "click" for someone on the basketball court...there's nothing more exciting.
Insert Boston Celtics wing, Jaylen Brown. Now if you haven't been watching the Celtics closely this year, you might not have noticed the rapid improvements from Brown. But we first need to revisit the past in order to truly appreciate just how special the development has been for the Celtics 24-year-old. Remember when the Celtics drafted Brown 3rd overall out of California? "He plays really hard...and has limited range on his shot." Brown was known to be a bit of a project coming out of college. A physically imposing wing with good size who struggled to stretch the floor. The former Golden Bear guard would shoot 29% from 3 during his only year at Cal. Fast forward to the end of Jaylen's rookie year with the Celtics, and Brown went on to average just 6.6 PTS in 17.2 MIN for Boston.
Still just 20-years-old, there was plenty of optimism about Jaylen Brown's potential after his rookie year. But this is what separates some of the top organizations...developmental staffs. Brown could have been discouraged by his rookie year and allowed it to ruin his confidence...but instead, he got to work. The following season, Brown would see his numbers across the board take a massive jump. He would finish his "sophomore campaign" averaging 14.5 PPG while shooting 39.5 from 3, a substantial improvement after shooting 34.1% during his rookie year. The following year would see Brown go through some injury bugs, causing his game to take a baby step back in terms of his overall development.
Heading into the 2019-20 season, many wondered if Jaylen Brown was going to be able to take the next step forward needed for this Boston Celtics organization. A big decision was at the hands of GM Danny Ainge, as his young wing was in line for a potential contract extension. Brown had plenty of talent, but many wondered if he could flip the switch and develop into one of the top young wings throughout the entire NBA. Challenge accepted. After being rewarded by the Celtics with a 4-year, $115 million extension, the 23-year-old would put forth his most impressive season yet, seeing his PPG jump from 13.0 the previous season to 20.3. Brown would also see himself develop into a versatile two-way weapon on the NBA floor, often drawing the assignment of guarding opposing teams' stronger offensive players. After the 2019-20 season, it was clear that Boston had found, and developed, one of the more promising wings in the league.
But no one expected what would happen the following year...
Now that we're all caught up to speed, let's get down to business. What Jaylen Brown is doing this year for the Boston Celtics is absolutely TERRIFYING. There's a serious question that we need to bring to the table and discuss. Is Jaylen Brown Possessed? While you might find yourself laughing at the thought of it, this is no joking matter, my good basketball friends. Since all of you just LOVE to read some stats let's break it down real quick for you.
In the span of 3 years, Jaylen Brown has watched his PPG jump from 13.0 (2018-19) to 20.3 (2019-20) to currently 27.3. Please allow yourself a moment to go back and re-read that previous sentence and allow that to process. Sure, the sample size right now is a bit small but the production across the board is absurd. Remember, Jaylen Brown is still just 24-years-old and he continues to unlock aspects of his game each and every year. As of now, Brown is averaging 27.3 PTS, 5.8 REB, 3.4 AST, and 1.5 STL while shooting 52.8% from the field (yes 52.8%) and 43.8% from 3. One of the biggest developments here for Jaylen is obviously the 3P% as he's never finished a year shooting in the 40% range from deep.
If you've watched Brown closely throughout his NBA career, it's truly remarkable to see the attention to detail he has. You can see that Brown has paid specific attention to numerous amounts of his "weaknesses" throughout his development and has worked to make them strengths. Early on in Jaylen's career, it was well known that Brown wasn't the strongest ball-handler. Now? Brown is shaking off opponents with his combination of impressive handles and hesitations. His game continues to take steps forward and he's quickly becoming a problem in this league for opposing teams. After fellow star Jayson Tatum was forced to miss some time due to COVID protocols, the Celtics looked to their other young star to carry the load offensively...and Brown has been on an absolute terror as of late. Brown has been setting records as of late as well, including previously against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brown would score 33 points in just 19 minutes, setting a record for most points in less than 20 minutes for a player.
Some even went on to think that Jaylen Brown's production might take a snap with the return of Jayson Tatum last night. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Brown didn't miss a beat. Jaylen stood out the entire game as one of the best players on the floor and the overall confidence he is displaying right now with his game is truly incredible. It's like seeing an incredible movie for the first time in which you get to see your favorite character develop throughout the film. Brown has become a bit of an alpha on the court for the Celtics as of late, showing no fear for being aggressive and going right at players. He's become a dangerous threat from the mid-range which allows for the rest of his game to develop, especially his ability to score at multiple levels. Brown would finish last night's game with 26 PTS on 10/21 shooting.
Many basketball fans will wait patiently to see if Jaylen finally begins to cool off, especially as the Boston Celtics find themselves slowly nursing back to health (Kemba, Tatum). But the massive rise in production and performance all-around have basketball fans drooling as of late. If Brown can keep up this performance, he's got All-NBA potential at the end of the year. The 24-year-old has become a problem for the rest of the NBA. While so many basketball fans were talking about the potential superstar running alongside Brown, they might need to start paying attention to number 7 instead.