As we continue to analyze and rank the league’s best players, today we take a closer look at Jaylen Brown. Since entering the league in 2016, Brown has transformed from a raw athletic wing to a two-way star. Over the past few seasons, Brown and the Boston Celtics have been on the verge of winning a title. As the season approaches the expectations are high for both Brown and the Celtics.
Top 25 NBA players 2023-24: No. 22 Jaylen Brown
The Gold Standard of Second Stars
Brown might be talented enough to be the number one option on a playoff team. However, Brown sacrifices this to be arguably the league’s best number two option on a perennial contender. The wing duo of Jayson Tatum and Brown is a luxury for Boston. The duo provides the Celtics with incredible wing production and is perfect for the modern game. Brown is a capable three-level scoring and impactful defender. This skill set is a perfect fit next to Tatum and having another scoring threat makes the Celtics incredibly difficult to match up against. When Tatum is struggling Brown has a strong tendency to pick the play and have a big night. All of these are perfect traits for a second option.
Last year was Brown’s best regular season of his career. As a result, he was rewarded with an All-NBA selection for the first time in his career. What stood out about Brown’s season was his elite finishing and how consistent of a scorer he was. The Celtics finished the season with 57 wins and 2nd in the conference. While Brown had a great regular season, his playoff performances left a lot to be desired. Dealing with a hand injury, Brown played at his typical star level in the first two series against the Hawks and 76ers.
However, things went south for Brown in the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat. Brown struggled as a consistent scorer and posted awful shooting efficiency during the series. In addition to scoring struggles, Brown notably struggled in the turnover department. Brown averaged 3.6 turnovers per game, including 8 turnovers in a do-or-die game seven. Throughout his career, Brown’s ball-handling has been his fatal flaw, and Miami’s zone defense perfectly exposed that. Going forward, tightening up his handle or finding more ways to overcome that weakness is a top priority for Brown.
This off-season Brown was rewarded with a five-year supermax extension worth $303 million, including 65 million in the final year of his deal. This extension is a vote of confidence in Brown from the Celtics. While this contract is an overpay in a vacuum, the Celtics needed to keep this nucleus together in hopes of winning a championship. Additionally, more contracts like this will be handed out in the near future. However, this contract certainly puts even more pressure on the Celtics to win a title within the next few seasons.
The Celtics are poised to win a title, but getting over the hump is the question for them. Considering Brown’s role in a Celtics title run, he will have to continue being a consistent scoring threat and two-way presence. Although many people soured on Brown after his disappointing Heat series, it’s important to note that the series is the expectation rather than the rule. Throughout his career, Brown has been a great playoff performer and has an incredible amount of experience at his age. Brown has even been the best player on the team in certain series, including the 2022 finals.
The Last Word on Jaylen Brown
Ultimately, Brown is a top-tier co-star who has continuously improved and risen the ranks. The Celtics are on the brink of a winning championship. Fully proving himself as the league’s best co-star and finally prevailing to win a title would cause Brown to soar in the rankings. While 22 may seem low for Brown, the league is incredibly deep and this spot is no knock on Brown.