Jaylen Brown and Jabari Bird will bring one of the most unique relationships to the Boston Celtics this season
When Jaylen Brown was a freshman at Cal, he was the prized recruit. But even a five star recruit gets the pre-college jitters. Whether you’re a McDonald’s All American or a marketing major, all incoming freshmen have butterflies.
That was Brown three years ago. Stepping onto Cal’s campus in Berkeley, California, Brown did have a leg up on the rest of the freshman class. He had teammates to help guide him. One of those teammates was Jabari Bird.
At that time, Bird was a seasoned vet through the eyes of Brown. A junior for the Bears, the 6’6″ wing was already a prominent contributor for the program. Naturally, alongside the other younger players, Brown followed Bird’s lead. The two Cal products now find themselves in a very unique scenario.
Fast forward to 2017 and the roles are drastically reversed. Brown is getting ready to begin his second professional season and is suddenly one of the more tenured Celtics on this young and revamped roster.
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It’s now Bird who’s the rookie looking for guidance. Drafted 56th overall, the 23-year-old is on a two-way contract between the Celtics and their G-League affiliate, the Main Red Claws. When asked about the role reversal at media day, Bird laughed and noted the uniqueness of their situation.
“Now he’s the OG. I’m trying to learn from him.” It’s tough to imagine a 20-year-old showing someone the ropes in a professional role, but it seems Brown is more than ready to take on that responsibility, according to Bird. “Sometimes I forget he’s only 20 years old. He has a body like a seasoned vet.”
The Celtics’ rookie is right. Seeing Brown and watching him address the media would make one believe he’s been in the league for five plus seasons. This comes as a good sign for Boston, as Brad Stevens noted that they’ll need Brown in a major way this year, specifically on the defensive end.
Bird on the other hand will have to be much more patient. He was able to avoid questions about his last name on the back of a Celtics’ uniform on Monday, which is a victory in itself. However the second round pick will be spending a majority of his first season playing for the Maine Red Claws.
He and fellow draft pick Kadeem Allen will be the Celtics’ two two-way deals, meaning that each player can spend a maximum amount of 45 days in the NBA this year, none of which are guaranteed.
Bird is an aggressive offensive scorer who finds much of his production in transition thanks to his athletic prowess. He has good length and can shoot from beyond the arc, but he’ll need to fill his frame and put on some muscle before becoming an effective player in the NBA. I think I have an idea of who he’ll look to for help.