BOSTON -- After a solid rookie season in 2017, Jaylen Brown avoided the sophomore slump the following season and instead had a surge toward becoming a starter and the Celtics’ best scorer not named Kyrie Irving.
There was growth in Year 3, but not how Brown or the Celtics envisioned.
After struggling at first to wholeheartedly embrace a new role that saw him go from starting to coming off the bench, Brown learned a vital lesson about playing time.
The better you play, the more you get.
And it is a lesson that will serve him well heading into this offseason, which has some life-altering potential.
While his numbers took a dip, Brown’s value for this team may not be any higher than it is now.
With three years under his belt, Brown has done enough to where teams no longer see him as an unknown commodity whose value is heavily intertwined with potential.
“He’s what, 22 years old?” a Western Conference scout told NBC Sports Boston. “You don’t see him as your star per se, but there’s a lot to like about Jaylen’s game. And looking from the outside at how things were with the Celtics, I think there’s a great amount of respect for him as a person, too.”
The internal struggles that led to the Celtics flaming out in the second round of the playoffs have become a well-talked about topic.
Terry Rozier has not held back on his thoughts as to what some of the issues were. Most recently, Aron Baynes discussed the team’s “flip the switch” approach to the playoffs and how that was a recipe for disaster which played out before our very eyes.
Even the good folks at Bleacher Report covered the Celtics’ issues via their “Game of Zones” animated series, which takes a hilarious poke at the chemistry problems that seemed to haunt team all season.
So, what does it all mean to Brown?
Brown’s approach to this offseason has to be no different than what it has been each of the previous two. That is, to become a better all-around player because the one thing he has shown thus far in his career is that he’s good at many things but great at none.
In three seasons, Brown has never averaged more than 1.6 assists per game so the need to get others involved and step up his play-making is important.
A good chunk of his turnovers come from losing control of the ball while dribbling, so tightening up his handle will surely be an area in need of improvement this summer.
Brown could also work to become a better defender, the one thing many expected would not be a major issue for him in the NBA due to his length, athleticism and clear desire in college to make an impact at that end of the floor.
And then there’s the potential contract extension that Brown is eligible for before the start of next season.
Brown, who does not have an agent, hopes to talk about the Celtics at some point this summer about a new deal.
With or without an extension, Brown’s game is indeed trending in the right direction.
“I’m 22 years old. I know I have a lot to learn,” Brown said shortly after the Celtics season ended. “I know the older guys on our team, I think they feel the same thing. They got a lot to learn, too. So, that’s a part of it; everybody growing.”
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