Celts’ Jaylen Brown sets sights on a better 2017-18

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Celts’ Jaylen Brown sets sights on a better 2017-18

Post by bobheckler on Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:09 pm


Celts’ Jaylen Brown sets sights on a better 2017-18

By SCOTT SOUZA / The MetroWest Daily News

Posted at 6:20 PM  

For one night, Jaylen Brown dominated the Utah Summer League just like most expected he could and would after one full NBA season.

With much fanfare surrounding the battle between Celtics rookie and No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum and Philadelphia 76ers No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, it was the 20-year-old Brown who was the best player on the court in the July 3 opener on his way to 29 points and 13 rebounds.

The rest of Brown’s summer league experience, though, was not so dominating. Sure, there was the savage, two-handed slam over Portland’s Josh Scott that went viral, but for the most part Brown played second fiddle to Tatum’s star in Las Vegas before a right thigh injury sent him to the bench for the remainder of the exhibition schedule.

Yet, there was a reason for some of that. Brown wasn’t in Las Vegas simply to showcase his talent and get the home fans giddy like many of the rookies. He was there to expand his game. While Tatum, and much of the rest of the recent draft class, reveled in their comfort zones, Brown stepped outside of his as a primary ball-handler at times, and an on-ball defender guarding opposing point guards — including celebrated Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

Sometimes it went better than others — as he was occasionally beaten off the dribble at the initial point of attack and struggled with turnovers – but it was all part of the plan to add even more facets to his game as a second-year NBA player.

“It was by design,” he said of the extensive backcourt play while on a conference call from South Africa to promote his participation in the Team Africa game as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. “We were trying to pinpoint how to get better with different aspects of my game. I wanted to use the summer leagues to work on those parts of my game.

“I still have to get better with the nuances. My ball-handling, creating for others, that will help me in the long run if I can get better at those things. That’s what summer league is for.”

Brown said among his goals for the upcoming season are to use his athleticism to better guard more positions defensively, and become increasingly diverse offensively.

“I’ve made strides to be able to score at different levels,” he said. “I don’t want to just be a catch-and-shoot guy. I want to improve my overall arsenal.”

While Brown was able to crack the rotation as a rookie, earn valuable playoff experience, and was arguably Boston’s best player in the conference finals once Isaiah Thomas went down for good with a hip impingement and labral tear at halftime of Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he realizes nothing will be handed to him this season. With the additions of Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes and Tatum, minutes could be even harder to come by than last year.

That’s why showing he can do as many different things as he can was his focus in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

“I want to have a lot of versatility,” he said. “That’s one of the things our team is built on.”

Brown said he “couldn’t stop smiling and waving” when he got off the plane in Johannesburg in advance of Saturday’s game to the point where “it probably came off as kind of weird to the customs people.” He brought his family along to participate in the experience that he said is changing some of the perceptions that he had — and he believes most Americans have — of the continent.

“It’s completely different than I thought it would be,” he said, adding that Johannesburg is much more like Augusta, Georgia, than the “stereotypes” he’d heard. “It feels kind of like home.”

Brown summed up his desire to be part of more missions like Basketball Without Borders by paraphrasing a quote he said he’d first heard from Thomas.

“If you just remember me for being a good basketball player,” he said, “then I didn’t do enough while I was here.”



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Re: Celts’ Jaylen Brown sets sights on a better 2017-18

Post by wideclyde on Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:39 pm

I would very much like to meet this young guy. He just seems to be completely on top of everything that he says and does. I am sure that he has an ego, but it is so refreshing not to hear about it where so many NBA players only shine when in the glare of their egos.

It is not surprising any longer to hear him say (and then work to follow up) things that are so very much more expected from a four or five year veteran.

He is certainly athletically talented enough and seems to like to listen, learn and work that it will not surprise me if he is a regular on the all star team beginning in 2018-19 and a star in Boston for many, many years.


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