Jaylen Brown scored the Boston Celtics' first points in the NBA bubble on a sweet turnaround jumper in Friday night's scrimmage against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he's been on a tear ever since.
The 23-year-old forward has played exceptionally well in Boston's first two scrimmages inside the Orlando bubble. His best performance came Sunday versus the Phoenix Suns with 21 points in 27 minutes on 7-for-13 shooting.
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"I think Jaylen really kinda teased us during the regular season about just how great of a player he can be," NBC Sports Boston's Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely said on the latest episode of the "Celtics Talk Podcast."
"Before the pandemic struck and everything got shut down, I had a chance to spend some time with his high school coach and his AAU coach. The one thing they kept stressing to me was opportunity is all JB needs. He needs to have that platform where he can be all that he's capable of being, and he hasn't really had that up to this point. There was always a player or two who had a little more status or a little more opportunity, and JB had to get in where he fit in. But with this restart, everyone knows what Jaylen Brown can do. Everyone has seen him play at a near All-Star level. But the opportunity to take it to that next level I think is really apparent right now.
Brown could be the Celtics' second option offensively behind Jayson Tatum depending on the status of star point guard Kemba Walker's knee. Walker made his bubble debut Sunday versus the Suns and looked pretty good, but the C's have been very careful with how much he's practiced and played in Orlando.
The Celtics are the only team in the league with three players averaging 20-plus points per game, and Brown is one of them. Boston has the potential to make a deep run in the 2020 playoffs, and the chances of that happening go up significantly if Brown is playing at a high level on both ends of the court. So far, it looks like Brown is very much capable of rising to the challenge.
"If the Celtics are going to have one of those magic championship or get-to-the-Finals types of seasons, Jaylen Brown is basically going to have to be a better version of Andre Iguodala," Blakely said. "The guy who is significant in your team's championship quest who maybe isn't that first or second option, but they are an ultimate difference maker. I think Jaylen Brown has that type of potential, and I think he's making the most of his opportunity in the bubble. Jaylen has hit the ground -- he's not running, he's Usain Bolt-running. He's at a different level than everyone on the Celtics roster, and frankly, most of the guys in the bubble. It's great to see."
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Bucks, which begins Friday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.