The rookie Survery has recognized Jaylen Brown as the best athlete of his class, by far
The annnuel rookie surgery has been released (via NBA.com) and it is no surprise that the Boston Celtics‘ third overall pick, Jaylen Brown, wiped the floor with the competition in one area. Despite being just 19 years old, a big factor in drafting Brown was his NBA ready physical ability, and truly elite athleticism. Brown brought in 38.7 percent of the votes for most athletic rookie, and the second best, Brice Johnson, received just a lowly 16.1 percent.
To give some perspective into how much of a landslide win this is for Brown, Buddy Hield was the only player to receive more votes for any other category (with a ridiculous 65.7 percent of the votes for best three point shooter). After that, however, no one received more than 29 percent for any category, and the next biggest difference between number one and two is just 10 percent.
Brown’s lopsided win should not come as too much of a surprise. That athleticism could have been the biggest difference maker for a third overall selection that was truly wide open. The Celtics had plenty of options and Browns ability to contribute as a 19 year old rookie while developing gave him a distinct advantage.
Small forward may be the only position where a rookie could come in and take over a significant role immediately. Putting a athletic freak that should be able to hold his own on defense in that position gave the Celtics their best option with the third overall pick.
Unfortunately, Brown’s athleticism is unlikely to do very much on the offensive end for the Celtics. They need to improve their shooting and that is where Brown is expected to struggle the most. Fortunately, his relentless effort and superior athleticism will make him a factor in transition and could allow him to be a positive offensive presence, even if it is not that impactful.
Brown is expected to take over much of the backup small forward duties and the man in that position last year was Evan Turner. Turner was not an elite athlete, but his size and strength gave him the defensive versatility that the Celtics need out of their small forwards.
Apr 24, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Evan Turner (11) shoots the ball over Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) during the first half in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jae Crowder is expected to matchup to the opposing team’s best player and it is essential to their small ball lineups that he guards anywhere from the one to the four. Turner took on similar duties on the second unit. He played as a primary ball handler on the offensive end, but he was the closest thing the Celtics had to Crowder on the defensive end.
The Celtics often have undersized defenders in difficult match ups, and Brown’s athleticism will give him a head start in figuring out how to have the necessary defensive versatility.
First, the Celtics recognized Browns unique athleticism by making him the third overall selection, and now the rookie survey is further confirming what kind of advantage he has over the rest of the class.
Brown is the highest draft selection made since the Celtics began their rebuild and he has an opportunity to be the best athlete on the team. If the potential development that should come from a 19 year old rookie is also taken into account, he has the potential to become one of the most important pieces of the Celtics’ future.