Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

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Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

Post by bobheckler on Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:17 am

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2018/07/bulpett_old_foe_isiah_thomas_impressed_by_jaylen_brown_s_all_around_growth




Bulpett: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth





Steve Bulpett Monday, July 16, 2018





PROUD MENTOR: Isiah Thomas (inset) continues to be impressed with the development of Celtics forward Jaylen Brown.




LAS VEGAS — We have certainly come to a strange place in time when Pistons legend Isiah Thomas sees a former Detroit teammate as “the enemy” and the Celtics as a team to be supported.

While Isiah Thomas laughingly notes the fact he hasn’t been in contact at all here with Bill Laimbeer, coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces (“He’s with the Aces. I’m with the Liberty. He’s the enemy.”), the Hall of Famer continues to work and consult with Jaylen Brown of the Celtics.

As detailed on these pages since around the time of the 2016 draft, Brown and Thomas became close through their ties to Cal (Brown went there for a year; Thomas got his master’s degree from the school).

The two have since worked to develop Brown as a basketball player and more. In terms of the former, Thomas was extremely impressed with the strides Brown took as he moved into the starting lineup and averaged 14.5 points (18.0 in the playoffs) in his sophomore NBA campaign.

“I thought he had a great second year, and not only did he improve offensively, but he still kept improving defensively,” said Thomas. “He came into the league and he made his mark on the defensive side, and then last summer it was, ‘OK, we’ve got to make you a better 3-point shooter. You’ve got to be able to knock down the 3, and you’ve got to be able to do certain things in coach (Brad) Stevens’ offense that he wants you to do.’ I thought in the playoffs he was exceptionally good.

“Now the second phase is he’s got to become a better ballhandler. He’s got to be able to take his man off the dribble. So he’s spending a little time with Tracy McGrady. He’s going to spend some time with myself. Now he’s going to get his dribble moves down, and he’s got to come back a better basketball player on the dribbling side. And then we’ve got to get him better at the foul line.”

Brown hit 64.4 percent from the line for the year, but he did improve to 79.4 percent in the games after the All-Star break. Then again, he fell back to 64 percent in the playoffs.

“Yeah, but Jaylen, with his form and the way he is, he’s got to be a high-70s or 80-plus-percent foul shooter,” said Thomas. “And if he does that, then you’re looking at an All-Star player.”

Having been an NBA coach, as well, Thomas is very respectful of the team boundaries. He tries to augment and support what Stevens and the Celts are doing; then he largely gets out of the way when camp opens — except to be there when Brown needs outside perspective or to just talk.

“We’ve been working with him on the 3 since he came in, his whole game,” Thomas said. “We talk a lot on the phone. But once the season starts, it’s the Celtics. But when the Celtics don’t have him, what we try to do is expand and improve.

“As you see, he’s a knowledge seeker, and he goes out and he seeks knowledge from different people, and he tries to incorporate that into his game.”

Thomas appreciates that Brown looks to share the opportunities to grow, hosting technology and networking events at All-Star Weekend and at summer league here.

“He’s well rounded,” said Thomas. “I think we’re all extremely proud of him in the way that he’s handled himself off the court and the things that he has spoken about off the court. But the way he has spoken about them is in a way of bringing people together as opposed to dividing people. That’s powerful.

“And I like that he’s gotten heavily involved in the union. He wants to have an active voice in the union, and this next generation that’s coming up, in terms of leaders and having voices in the union, being presidents of the union. You know, when Chris Paul and LeBron James and these guys step off the stage, you’re looking at a Jaylen Brown who could potentially be the next president of the union.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next, on the court and off the court.”

And, strangely to those who remember the Boston-Detroit hoop wars of the ’80s, Thomas is cool with the latest rise of the Celtics. He laughed at the suggestion this is out of character for a Piston.

“The only way I would be bothered by their success was if the Celtics wouldn’t have taught us so well,” Thomas said. “We’ve talked about this before. But since they taught us so good, I can appreciate what they stand for.”

One Celtic, in particular.





bob
MY NOTE:  Zeke was a bad coach and a God-AWFUL GM but there is no denying his talent as a player and leadership role on his World Champion Pistons, arguably the best point guard of his era (at least the best I remember).  Jaylen could do a lot worse than him as a mentor and having T-Mac teaching him how to take defenders off the dribble (just don't listen to him about defense, ok?).  Old-timers love young players who are "old souls".  Jaylen's an old soul and sharp as a whip.  My money is that T-Mac won't be the last retired star HOFer Thomas will talk into helping Jaylen and his development.  I've said all along I have loved Jaylen Brown from the first post-draft interview he ever gave.  You can spot'em, this kid is going places in life.  And he's ours.



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Re: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

Post by wideclyde on Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:27 am

Nice compliments for Jaylen Brown. Like Thomas or not, he was a pretty good player and a hall of famer.

Also have to very much agree with Bob in his thoughts of liking Brown from that very first interview. Quality flowed from him both then and now.

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Re: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

Post by bobheckler on Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:44 pm

Here is an 8 minute video of Jaylen working out with Tracy McGrady. Jaylen working out with T-Mac, Jayson working out with Kobe. Wow.





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Re: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

Post by bobc33 on Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:44 pm

When (not if) Jaylen significantly improves his handle he should be a perennial All Star!
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Re: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

Post by dboss on Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:06 pm

His handle is definitely stronger. If he wants to become a consistent 20+ per game scorer the handled and his FT shooting needs to improve. I love his work ethic.
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Re: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

Post by NYCelt on Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:22 pm

Nice compliment, coming from Zeke.
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Re: Old foe Isiah Thomas impressed by Jaylen Brown’s all-around growth

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