Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals is a game to forget, but for Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics the future is a bright one.
The wounds are still fresh from another playoff exit at the hands of LeBron James. Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics have made it to the penultimate round of the NBA playoffs the last two years. While the results weren’t the desired ones — compounded by a 5-18 shooting performance — Brown has a lot to be proud of.
Tough game aside, the Celtics would have never made it that far without the progress of Brown in his second season. And one game should not diminish the tremendous growth in his game that was on display in much of 2017-18.
Initially, it was difficult to see what Brown’s role was going to be heading into the season. Taking the next step was expected, but the arrival of Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, and Jayson Tatum might ease things. Still, there was a lot riding on Brown building on a rookie campaign that saw him average only 17.2 minutes per game.
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From game one of the regular season, Brown was ready to leap into another stratosphere. The injury to Hayward opened up more minutes and responsibility for Brown, who delivered a 25-point, 6-rebound performance in the season-opening loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s safe to say Brown’s second-year was impressive. The regular season concluded with Brown second on the team in scoring (14.5 ppg, up from 6.6 in his rookie year). In fact, across the board, everything for Brown improved as he shot 46.5% from the field and pulled down 4.9 rebounds per game.
Season highlights and shining in the playoffs
Brown may have missed 12 games in the regular season, but his offseason work paid off for the Boston Celtics. Not only was his scoring up, but Brown shot a slightly better percentage from the field as well as from three-point range.
He was best when attempting only four to six 3’s per game. However, Brown did have games against the Chicago Bulls (7-10 from 3-point range) and the Washington Wizards (6-10) in which he showed what he could do when he really got hot.
Brown had 23 games in which he scored 20 points or more (regular season and playoffs). He ran off a string of three straight games in November of said scoring.
Three times out of those 23 games, Brown was able to crack the 30-point barrier. Two of which happened in the 2018 playoffs. Both were against the Milwaukee Bucks, including a 34-point, 8 rebound performance in the game 4 loss.
One of Brown’s finest performances on the season was a 24-point game against the Philadelphia 76ers in the series-clinching game 5. Brown shot 10-13 from the field in that victory.
Despite his struggles in the game 7 loss, Brown scored over 20 points in four games of the series. He dropped 27 in game 6 and, along with Terry Rozier, helped Boston even hang around in that game.
Brown made great strides in 2017-18. His defense was solid this past season (one steal per game) and should only continue to get better.
Scoring wise, he stepped up big time, especially down the stretch with Irving out. Brown thrives in head coach Brad Stevens’ offense and, as long as he doesn’t become reliant on the three-ball, will only continue to get better.