Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown continues to be MVP of the bubble for C's

Celtics Talk Podcast: Jaylen Brown continues to be MVP of the bubble for C's

Jaylen Brown has improved every facet of his game in Year 4 of his promising NBA career.

The Boston Celtics forward is averaging career highs in every major statistical category, and he's done a stellar job playing the Robin to Jayson Tatum's Batman throughout the 2019-20 season.

So far in the Orlando bubble, though, it's Brown who has taken over as Boston's Most Valuable Player.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Brown has been on fire through six games in the bubble, averaging 21.7 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 assists through six games. On a brand new edition of the Celtics Talk Podcast, A. Sherrod Blakely emphatically explains to Kyle Draper why Brown is indisputably Boston's best player at this point in time.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Banner 18 in the bubble? Celtics' title chances getting stronger as postseason nears | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"In this moment, right now. Jaylen Brown is the best two-way player on this team right now. Right this minute," said Blakely. "And I'll go a step further, Jaylen Brown is the best player on this team period right now based on what he's doing in the bubble. Now, when we get to the playoffs do I expect him to be their best player? No. I expect him to be in the top three. I expect Tatum or Kemba to elevate and be that guy."

Blakely also praised Brown for continuing to be a leader off the court while dominating on it. After Sunday's overtime win vs. the Orlando Magic, the 23-year-old spoke at length about the issues of police brutality and mental health.

"Jaylen Brown is killing it, man. I mean he has been just an absolute beast," Blakely said. "And the thing that I love about Jaylen is that not only is he being a beast on the court and helping his team win, but all the social issues that he was championing before he got in the bubble that he said he would continue to have those conversations and use his platform to elevate those discussions, he's kept his word along those lines."

Also discussed on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast: How will Stevens handle playoff rotation? Has Robert Williams earned playing time over Enes Kanter? Who is the Celtics' ideal first-round opponent? And is Gordon Hayward the C's X-factor for the playoffs?

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Can Romeo Langford, Robert Williams shine vs. Raptors?

Celtics Talk Podcast: Can Romeo Langford, Robert Williams shine vs. Raptors?

The Boston Celtics gave their best performance of the NBA's restart in Wednesday night's blowout win over the Brooklyn Nets, and a boost from two of their most recent first-round picks played a key role in the victory.

Boston's bench scoring has been hit or miss in the seeding games so far, but the second unit didn't disappoint against the Nets. Second-year center Robert Williams scored a career-high 18 points with five rebounds and three blocks. Rookie guard Romeo Langford didn't make a huge impact offensively with only four points, but his defense was fantastic. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Raptors, which begins Friday at 8 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

The Nets are one of the worst teams in the Orlando bubble, so while the performances of Williams and Langford are no doubt encouraging, the Celtics need these guys to make a similar impact versus the top teams in the Eastern Conference, too. 

On a new episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, our C's insider Chris Forsberg gives his take on Williams' and Langford's play so far, and what the future holds for them with the playoffs approaching.

"Here's what I think Brad will take away. He'll sit back and he'll say, none of these guys have really stepped up and grasped their opportunity through the scrimmage games and early seeding games, and with a chance because Kemba (Walker) was out and the starters didn't play a lot of minutes (against the Nets), (the young guys) finally sort of grasped the opportunity," Forsberg said. "But again, it's what you do from there. ... It's not like you have one good game and (Celtics coach Brad Stevens) just throws you in there. If I had to guess which rookie is still most likely to have the biggest impact, I'm starting to lean toward Langford because he has shown defensively that you can put him in there and even in small bursts of minutes be able to give you something, and to be a steady presence. I think that's important.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Can Rob Williams, Langford help C's carry momentum vs Raptors? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"It's nice to see Rob Williams out there, and there were still a good amount of defenses lapses -- a lot of which he makes up for because he's so athletic. But when I convene the Robert Williams fan club for our weekly meeting tonight, I'm going to tell the congregation, look, let's not get too high or too low, we have to see Rob come back and build off (Wednesday night). My hope is that Rob is the first guy in the gym, even on an off day after two games. That he's in there working, busting his butt and showing that he's ready for that opportunity. If he does that, he's got a better chance to get some minutes. If he got a DNP (against the Raptors), I wouldn't be shocked because that's how Brad operates. But Grant (Williams), Romeo -- one of those guys is going to get a chance in the playoffs and they have to be ready for that opportunity."

Robert Williams could see some action versus the Raptors for the simple fact that Toronto is a pretty big team. He would be a good matchup against Raptors center Marc Gasol or power forward Serge Ibaka. Grant Williams also has good size and a high defensive IQ, so he could match up against those Raptors big men as well. 

Coaches typically shorten their rotations in the playoffs and only give minutes to players they can trust. But there are plenty of scenarios, including foul trouble, injuries, etc., that force guys at the end of the bench to play a role. For the Celtics to make a deep playoff run, they'll need young players such as Langford and both Williams' to give them some good minutes against contending teams. 

One of the best ways to find out which players are capable of handling that burden is actually giving them minutes before the playoffs, and Friday's game against the Raptors is a good opportunity to see how these young guys respond.

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.

Celtics Talk Podcast: How much does a healthy Kemba Walker raise the C's ceiling?

Celtics Talk Podcast: How much does a healthy Kemba Walker raise the C's ceiling?

Boston Celtics fans should be encouraged by what they've seen from Kemba Walker through the first two games of the NBA restart.

The C's All-Star guard has been on a minutes restriction due to a nagging left knee injury, but he's made the most of his time on the court. In Friday night's opener vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, Walker dropped 16 points in 19 minutes. Then in Sunday's win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Walker scored 14 points in 22 minutes.

In other words, he looks healthy. And that's great news for a Celtics team that will need Walker to be 100 percent when they begin their road to the NBA Finals later this month.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Just how much does a healthy Walker improve the Celtics' championship chances? Chris Forsberg, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Kyle Draper answered that question on a brand new episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast.

Celtics Talk Podcast: How much does a healthy Kemba Walker raise the Celtics’ ceiling? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Forsberg is encouraged by what he's seen out of Walker thus far and believes he'll need to be himself if the C's have any hope of making a deep postseason run.

"My biggest takeaway from the whole weekend was Kemba looks like the Kemba we saw at the start of the season, and there is no bigger development for the Boston Celtics," Forsberg said. "If they have any aspirations of doing anything, they need a healthy Kemba Walker. We've been saying this for weeks ... 

"He's flying around with a burst, a bounce that he hasn't had since probably the last calendar year, late December. I just think the team looks different because of it. The offense flows, teams can't double-team Tatum, it opens things up for Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown. I just think this is such a big piece of what they can do."

Blakely agreed with Forsberg's take and even took it a step further, stating Walker looks even better than he did earlier this season for the Celtics.

"To me, the big takeaway isn't just that Kemba looks like his old self, I think Kemba looks better than he did at the start of the season," Blakely said. "Because not only is he scoring at a level relative to his minutes that we're used to, but he's doing it efficiently.

"That's the one takeaway that has really jumped out to me, the fact that he's getting to his spots, he's knocking down shots that he should be knocking down, and he's doing it in a very precise, efficient matter which to me bodes well for going forward."

Draper took more of a cautiously optimistic approach, noting that we still have to see Walker get a full workload before we can breathe a sigh of relief.

"While I agree with everything you guys said, regarding Kemba, then what's the hold up then?" Draper asked. "If he looks good, if he's back to himself ... does he look good in five-minute spurts, or can he play 35 minutes and look good?

"I don't think any of it's a question of whether Kemba can look good in five minutes ...  We need Kemba to do that 30-plus minutes a night. That's the big question, right?"

Also discussed on the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast: How will the C's manage Walker's minutes going forward? What are the biggest concerns through the first two games? And is there any danger of the Celtics falling to the No. 4 seed?

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.