Celtics’ Jaylen Brown showcases athleticism in NBA Africa Game

BOSTON, MA - MAY 19: Jaylen Brown
BOSTON, MA - MAY 19: Jaylen Brown /

Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown razzled and dazzled for Team World in the NBA Africa Game played in Johannesburgh, South Africa.

The 2017-18 NBA season is a few months away, but Boston Celtics fans are getting a glimpse of things to come from second-year man Jaylen Brown.

After opening the Utah Summer League with an impressive 29-point performance, the 2016 No. 3 overall pick showed off his athleticism on a larger stage.

Participating in the 2017 NBA Africa Game on Saturday, Brown helped Team World defeat Team Africa 108-97.  His 15 points was highlighted by 6-for-10 shooting and a couple of plays that have Boston Celtics fans salivating.

Highlight reel

One of those plays was a nice assist off the glass to Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond.  The play and execution showed off Brown’s passing skills.  Although just an exhibition game, it showed the young wing can dish out assists in the open court.

On another play, Jaylen Brown defied gravity with a nice spin move in midair to finish at the basket.  The finish is something Brown could do a bit more in actual NBA games.  He has shown (as showcased in the highlight below) that he has no problem getting to the hoop.  More finishes will make him quite the scorer in the Celtics offense.

Finally, Brown finished the game doing what we all know he can do…dunk.  In the final seconds of the game he threw down a huge windmill dunk to cap off a nice range of offense from the former University of California standout.

A leader emerging from within

Overall, it was a great experience for a young player like Jaylen Brown.  Not only did he get to play with some of the games emerging young stars, the experience of traveling to Africa opened his eyes to the world in his quest to become a leader in the game of basketball and a role model in life.

"“I got this quote from Isaiah Thomas, ‘If I die, if I’m known as just a good basketball player, then I didn’t do my job, I failed as a human being,’” Brown said, via the Boston Globe.  “That says a lot.  He lives by that and I kind of hold myself to the same standard.  If you’re just remembered for being a good basketball player, I didn’t do enough while I was here.“It’s my driving force, just using the game to make an impact on my community, spread light on a lot of different things.  Athletes have a voice. [Making an impact] crosses my mind a lot.  Being here [in Africa] changes your perspective on what’s going on [in the States].  People here are a lot more deprived and a lot more poor than in America but they don’t seem to be [deterred] by it.  They seem more happy, in a sense.  It just seemed interesting to see that.”"

While the game was a highlight film of fun for Jaylen Brown, it is nice to see how the experience itself has impacted his life, his growth and how he now sees the world around him.

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J.J. Reddick praises Jaylen Brown

New Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Reddick threw some praise Jaylen Brown’s way recently.

Reddick was asked by HoopsHype reporter Alex Kennedy who stood out to him last season from the defensive end.  Brown was a player he mentioned and gave the following reason:

"“A guy who did a great job last year was Jaylen Brown.  Avery (Bradley) was hurt the first time we played them, so Jaylen guarded me in Boston, and he did a great job of sticking with me.  He has the length, he’s strong, and he’s athletic.”"

Those variables are why many believe Brown will eventually evolve into a more than adequate replacement for Bradley.  As the second-year man continues to work on all tangibles of his game, he already has some nice attributes on defense to build of.

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His athleticism alone allows him to weed through screens quickly and his size allows him to harass shooters like J.J. Reddick, which would be beneficial if he does earn more minutes at the shooting guard position.