The Boston Celtics realize how important patience is going to be with Jaylen Brown
When the Boston Celtics found out that they were going to be picking third in the last NBA draft, many fans expected to get a player that could immediately come in and have a consistent impact. Things changed a bit when they selected the 19 year old one and done Jaylen Brown, a selection many fans were dissatisfied with. The Celtics knew they were getting the most physically ready and talented player they could with that selection, but Brown was certainly not ready to have an immediate impact in the NBA.
Brown got his chance early on with Marcus Smart and Kelly Olynyk injured, and an injury to Jae Crowder also put him in a significant role later on. At the beginning of the season, the second unit was a clear liability. Brown had a great moment against LeBron James, but too often looked lost on the court.
Brown always had those athletic flashes, but he was never able to continually put it together. Brown would often become a liability on both ends, failing to make intelligent plays and not understanding where to be aggressive, and Stevens noticed that. Brown still only averages 13.4 minutes per game, preventing him from having any kind of drastic impact, one way or another.
Brown has only been given an opportunity to showcase what he can do in limited spurts, and Stevens has never cut him out of the rotation completely. There may be occasional games when Brown gets under five minutes, but he is consistently getting opportunities on a nightly basis.
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Now that Brown has some experience in the NBA, and with the role injuries have given him, he is also getting used to a lot of responsibility on the second unit, even if it has not always worked out perfectly. Those extra minutes can only help with Stevens ability to trust him when things matter.
Brown still has not shown that he can be trusted to play over 20 minutes per game, like the top options off the bench. That being said, he is no longer looking lost out on the court. Brown is learning how to be effective in his role, and he is giving the Celtics a spark off the bench.
The second unit had a rough start, but they are top 10 in scoring, and Brown is no longer looking like a consistent liability on either end.
The Celtics knew that Brown’s shot was going to be a work in progress, and there is still work to be done. Shooting just under 45 percent overall and just over 30 percent from three is nothing to celebrate, but that is far better than Smart has been or Terry Rozier was in his rookie season. Brown is not quite the liability that they expected, and that is largely due to his ability to play within his role.
Brown knows when he has a matchup that he can physically attack on the inside, and he is an aggressive shooter when the opportunities are there. Brown is certainly still far too raw on offense, and it is unrealistic to expect him to maintain his effectiveness in higher volume.
For now, Brown is doing what Stevens allows him to do, and that is making him a much more positive player on the court.
Even if the results are not staggering right now, the Celtics are starting to see progress with Brown. Their patience is paying off, and that is the same approach they took with Smart. Smart hurt the Celtics more on the offensive end with his shooting, but his ability to find ways to contribute made it impossible to keep him off the court.
Brown is still learning, and at 20 years old, the Celtics will continue to be patient for as long as it takes. The Celtics may be a few seasons away before Brown becomes a top player for the team, but they will certainly be willing to give him the time to prove that he can become that player.
Brown is showing that he is willing to learn and he has always maintained an unparalleled work ethic. Mentally and physically, Brown is putting in the work to grow and as he does that Stevens will look to him more and more often. For now, he will stay right where he is in a limited role on the bench, but Rozier went through a similar situation last year.
Injuries gave him the opportunity in the regular season, and then when they got hurt in the playoffs that expeience allowed Stevens to trust Rozier. The results of his role in the playoffs and a huge reason why the Celtics are so invested in Rozier right now. Brown could have a similar impact if the Celtics suffer any injuries in the playoffs.