Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown has shown flashes of being a legitimate NBA star at both ends of the court, but he needs to be a bit more consistent than we've seen in his first three seasons.
Brown was hampered by a hand injury early in the 2018-19 and struggled to score and defend. He was removed from the starting lineup but regained his confidence and form in a sixth man role during the second half of the season. The 22-year-old wing finished the year averaging 13 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
The upcoming 2019-20 campaign is extremely important for Brown. He's eligible for a contract extension from now until the October deadline (and then again next summer), but even he recently admitted there hasn't been any discussion about a new deal.
The Celtics will eventually need to make a decision on Brown's worth, but right now, it sounds like they're optimistic about his future. Keith Smith, writing for SB Nation's "Celtics Blog", detailed an executive from a rival NBA team that tried (and failed) to trade for Brown. The Celtics were quick to shut down the attempt.
Opposing executive on Brown: “That’s the guy we wanted to steal. Our thought was ‘They have (Jayson) Tatum and (Gordon) Hayward and drafted another wing, maybe they are out on Brown’ and boy were we wrong. The conversation got about as far as the ‘Jay’ sound out of my mouth and they said ‘Neither Jayson or Jaylen are on the table for you’. So, yeah. They love that kid.”
Brown has enormous potential, there's no debating that. His skill set is similar to those of other two-way stars -- including Paul George and Jimmy Butler -- early in their careers. This is the season Brown needs to take a major leap forward in his development and become an All-Star level player. He should receive more playing time and a larger role in the offense this season after some of Boston's summer departures, so it's unlikely that a lack of opportunity will hold him back.
The Celtics should be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference again next season, and if Brown takes his game to a higher level, Boston could be a very dangerous team come playoff time.
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