Celtics Spotlight: Will Jaylen Brown stand out, or get lost in the shuffle?

Celtics Spotlight: Will Jaylen Brown stand out, or get lost in the shuffle?

One of the little known facts about Jaylen Brown is that while in high school he was the captain of his school’s chess team.

So as the fourth-year wing enters his first contract year in the NBA, it’s no surprise he’s been looking to hire an agent for the first time in his career, a move that should benefit him in the now as well as the future. Rumor has it he's already chosen ex-teammate Al Horford's agent, Jason Glushon, to represent him.

Celtic Spotlights: Walker | Smart

Brown is taking a similar approach towards his play on the court which after spending most of his career playing both guard positions and some small forward, expect to see an expanded game this season that will have the 6-foot-7 Brown playing some power forward, too. 

It’s the kind of move that will shine an even brighter light on Brown’s versatility, which comes in handy when you’re talking about the future of the NBA -- and from Brown’s perspective, making sure you’re part of that future. 

 It’s a successful season for Brown if … 

… his playing time continues to exceed the 25-minute barrier. When he played at least 25 minutes last season, the Celtics were 25-16 (.610 winning percentage). When he played less than 25 minutes, Boston was 18-15 (.545 winning percentage). Because of the versatility that Brown has shown in the past and continues to display now, Boston is going to need him to be a defensive jack-of-all-trades this season. And when the postseason rolls around, playoff Jaylen has to show up. Brown has never been one of Boston’s top scoring options, and yet his numbers in the playoffs per-36 minutes are what you expect from one of your primary starters: 17.9 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 36.0 percent from behind the arc.

It’s a disappointing season for Brown if … 

… he gets lost in the player shuffle and allows that to affect his play and potentially, his contract situation going forward. He has displayed a level of mental toughness during his time in Boston that makes one believe he’ll be fine. But this is new territory for the soon-to-be 23-year-old Brown, going through his first season with free agency likely around the corner. The hope is that he’ll continue to handle whatever is thrown his way in a professional manner and not let it impact his play, which was an issue at times for ex-Celtic Terry Rozier. After a strong postseason in 2018, Rozier did not handle his minutes being limited with the return of Kyrie Irving. Gordon Hayward is going to see a noticeable uptick in his playing time which may cut into the minutes that Brown receives. How he handles that will be one of the keys to both his success and the success of the Celtics this season. 

2019-2020 Outlook

Look for Brown to have a season similar to last year as far as being someone who floats in and out of the Celtics’ starting lineup. Brown showed that he could play with a level of consistency, both with the first group as well as being a major contributor off Boston’s bench. And while Brown’s individual numbers are similar as a starter and as a reserve, the most noticeable difference is the impact that Brown tends to make when he’s with the reserve unit. As a starter, Brown had a plus/minus of minus-1.5 points last season while his plus/minus as a backup was plus-3.4. 

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LeBron James doesn't regret breaking Celtics-Lakers routine to watch son play

LeBron James doesn't regret breaking Celtics-Lakers routine to watch son play

BOSTON -- How LeBron James got to Boston on Monday afternoon is up for debate.

One report suggested the Los Angeles Lakers star took a private helicopter from Springfield, Mass., to TD Garden ahead of his game against the Boston Celtics. The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported that James rode in a car like anyone else.

James quipped after the game that he "walked" the 90-mile distance: "I walked and they didn’t call it."

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What's undisputed is that James messed with his pregame routine Monday to watch his son Bronny James, a freshman at Sierra Canyon (Calif.) High School, play in Springfield's Hoophall Classic.

Bronny's squad played at 1 p.m. ET, meaning James had to attend the Lakers' pregame meeting Monday morning, haul out to Springfield to watch his son, and then hightail it back to play a primetime NBA game against a quality opponent.

According to Vardon, James napped in the car on the way to and from his son's game to try to maintain some normalcy. Not that he minded the disruption.

"I’d break every routine in my life for my family," James said after the game. "Listen, if the gods are with me, they’re going to make sure I get back safe, but my routine was broke today. 

"But I could care less if I’m seeing my family, my wife and my daughter and my kids. It was a unique opportunity for me to see my son play live that close to where I’m at."

The Celtics likely are glad James logged the extra travel; the Lakers star scored just 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting (with seven rebounds and 13 assists) as Boston cruised to a 139-107 win.

Bronny also struggled Monday, failing to score in Sierra Canyon's loss to Paul VI. But the final scores were the only issue James had with his busy travel day in Massachusetts.

"I didn’t mind going down to Springfield to check the game out,” James said. “The only bad thing about today was that I took two L’s. The 'James Gang' took two L’s, but there are always better days."

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Why LeBron James reportedly arrived at Celtics-Lakers via helicopter

Why LeBron James reportedly arrived at Celtics-Lakers via helicopter

LeBron James did what any good dad would do Monday -- with a little extra help.

The Los Angeles Lakers star's son, Bronny, plays for Sierra Canyon (Calif.) High School, which happened to be in Springfield, Mass., on Monday to compete in the Hoophall Classic.

Sierra Canyon played Paul VI at 1 p.m. ET, so James, whose Lakers were in town to play the Boston Celtics on Monday night, decided to go watch his son play.

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James then had to hightail it from Springfield to Boston -- about 92 miles and a 90-minute drive on a good day -- to get ready for Celtics-Lakers.

But rather than sit in traffic on the Mass Pike, James took a private helicopter, according to The Athletic's Jared Weiss.

That's a true helicopter parent.

James' express mode of transportation apparently worked: He arrived at the Garden on time and didn't miss the team's shootaround that morning, according to Lakers coach Frank Vogel.

"I saw him at the meeting this morning, I saw him on my phone this afternoon (at the Hoophall Classic), and I saw him in the locker room tonight," Vogel said before Monday's game, adding he had "no idea" how James got to or from Boston.

Sierra Canyon's game wasn't without incident, either: Bronny was held scoreless in the team's loss to Paul VI and a fan was caught throwing a piece of candy at him, prompting an admonishment from LeBron on Twitter.

The Celtics are hoping James' busy day wears him down a bit as they aim snap a three-game losing streak.

UPDATE (Tuesday, Jan. 21, 7 a.m. ET): Apparently James didn't take a chopper to Boston, after all.

The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported that the Lakers star made the Springfield-to-Boston trip in a car, citing someone who was with him for the drive.

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