Jaylen Brown impressed in Monday night’s 108-98 victory over Charlotte, earning his highest minutes total since December 9.
For Boston Celtics rookie small forward Jaylen Brown, the rookie campaign has not been a breeze. The third-overall selection in last June’s draft has struggled to maintain any resemblance of consistency within the rotation of head coach Brad Stevens, floating in and out of the lineup of key reserves without a tinge of firmness. As a result, his ability to harness a measurable amount of development has been hindered, leading to many Celtics supporters to label him a bust waiting to happen or a piece awaiting a trade.
Brown has showed flashes of his limitless potential, scoring 10 points on 4-6 shooting from the field in just 13 minutes in a double-digit victory over the Jazz on January 3rd. However, this contest was followed up by a win over the 76ers in which Brown played just five minutes and failed to receive a single attempt at a field goal. Brown proceeded to play 14 minutes in the Celtics subsequent contest against the Pelicans, racking up four rebounds and two assists in the absence of shooting guard Avery Bradley.
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Continuing with the trend of cascading playing time, Brown played just a combined 16 minutes in the ensuing three games despite the void in the rotation created by Bradley’s absence. Plagued by the shortened minutes, Brown went a combined 2-8 from the field in eight-minute bursts against the Raptors and Hawks.
The California product posted another episode of budding talent on Monday night, however, as the Celtics defeated the Charlotte Hornets, 108-98. Brown recorded 20 minutes of playing time in the contest, his highest figure since receiving 22 minutes in a December 9th loss to the Raptors in which point guard Isaiah Thomas was sidelined with a groin injury. Each one of these minutes were earned, as Brown fared 4-7 from the field en route to nine points, two rebounds, and two assists. Brown also emerged from the contest without a turnover to his name following a four-game stretch to begin January in which he posted at least one miscue.
Similar to the rest of the Celtics’ bench options, Brown performs when he enters the game with an aggressive mindset in tow, something he exhibited on Monday night. After substituting into the contest with 2:31 remaining in the first quarter, Brown generated a pair of awe-inspiring plays which led to Boston leaving the first 12 minutes with a four-point lead. With 26 ticks left in the stanza, Brown took a pass from point guard Marcus Smart on the baseline before absorbing contact from Hornets center Spencer Hawes while suspended in midair for a breathtaking and-one finish. 20 seconds later, Brown garnered a rebound off of a missed floater by Charlotte point guard Ramon Sessions. He then proceeded to sprint up the floor and hit small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with a hesitation move before piling through the lane, switching to his off-hand, and finishing the contested left-handed layup.
Brown continued his transition effectiveness into the second period. After receiving an outlet pass from center Kelly Olynyk, Brown scampered up the right side of the lane before dishing off a bounce pass to forward Jonas Jerebko. He then proceeded to handle an errant dump pass from Jerebko, take a vicious drop step, and finish a tough layup to hand Boston a five-point lead with 7:31 remaining.
The assault that he placed on the Charlotte defense in the first half earned Brown minutes down the stretch in the fourth quarter, an opportunity that he capitalized on. After having an attempt from three feet beyond the basket swatted by Hornets small forward Nicolas Batum with just under five minutes to go, Brown rebounded by collecting a feed from Smart in the open floor and finishing a breakaway to provide his team with a 98-89 advantage.
Per 36 minutes, Brown has posted respectable averages of 13.1 points and 5.2 rebounds with a superb 50.1 true shooting percentage and 0.4 defensive win shares. On two-point field goals, Brown is converted at a nearly 50 percent clip following a month of December in which he shot 47.7 percent from the field. Brown’s rebounding effort has increased as well, with his defensive rebounds per game average ballooning from 1.4 in November to 2.3 in January.