Amid the Celtics Turmoil, Jaylen Brown Shines Bright
Amid the Celtics turmoil, Jaylen Brown shines bright
“The expectation is a banner or nothing, and we came up with nothing. Definitely a let-down to the Celtics fan base. We apologize for that, but we build on it, we learn, and we try to build for the next opportunity."
In the aftermath of Boston’s dastardly second-round exit from the playoffs, Jaylen Brown was a rare breath of fresh air. In the moments and days since the Celtics season ended, the young man has been poised, thoughtful, and honest.
“I look at things optimistically. I’m 22-years-old. I still have a lot to learn and I got a lot to improve on. I’m healthy, so the best days are yet to come for a lot of us, so I look at it in that direction and move forward.”
It was just a few short months ago that a very different Jaylen Brown walked the halls of the TD Garden. Dismayed and blindsided by the challenges of a reduced role, Brown was dejected and depressed. His production on the court sagged considerably.
Brown quite remarkably clawed his way back into form, both physically and mentally. By season’s end, he was among Boston’s most important reserves. Following the All-Star break, Brown shot a smooth 50.2 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three.
The poor shooting and inexcusable defensive lapses began to disappear. Instead, a more polished, focused, and confident player emerged. The Brown we saw in last year’s postseason was roaring his way back into focus.
Brown brought this improved play into the postseason, carrying with him a critical dose of swagger and credence in his game.
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The playoffs were, of course, an abject failure for a Celtics team with true aspirations to contend for a title. And though he may not be the biggest offender, it’s fair to say he disappointed this spring.
How Brown responded, however, is much more important for a Celtics team flirting with utter implosion and chaos. The third-year player showed tremendous leadership in owning the stench of failure wafting from the Boston locker room.
“It tested me mentally. It tested my physically. When you get challenged, that’s where growth happen,” Brown said of this season. “Being uncomfortable this year was something I had to adapt [to]. My role changed, my responsibility changed, I had to adapt in so many different ways. Mentally, I had to grow up. I grew up this year. The little kid stuff kind of went out the window. Being mature, handling everything the right way, there’s no time for cry babies. Nobody cares in this league, so I had to grow up. That made me better as a person and that made me better as a basketball player.”
To assuage the fans with an apology and a vow to improve is one thing. But to offer such a frank self-assessment shows bespeaks a player destined for more. As a basketball player, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to Jaylen Brown.
The next chapter in Brown’s pro career may not be in Boston. Should the Celtics trade for Anthony Davis or any other big name this summer, Brown will certainly be used as a trade chip. The above poise and maturity is exactly what makes him such an intriguing asset.
Folks in the Hub are still picking up the pieces of the unexpectedly tumultuous season of Celtics basketball. The promise of Jaylen Brown and what his future may hold, though, may just be enough to keep C’s fans excited for next season.