Jaylen Brown knows what it takes to earn his minutes. The rookie was pitted against the likes of Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Gerald Green, and Jonas Jerebko for minutes, and he adjusted to the NBA admirably while showing enough flashes to play in 78 games and start in 20 of them while averaging 17.2 mpg when he did step on the court. He battled the defensive learning curve, the rookie wall, and a quick hook by Stevens throughout the year and managed to look like a player who could end up being a building block for this team for years to come.
Jaylen Brown knows what it takes to earn his spot on the court, and he wants whoever the Celtics draft with the first pick—most likely Markelle Fultz—to know they’re coming into work. When asked specifically about what he thought about Markelle Fultz, the rising sophomore said this about the prospect:
“I think he’s pretty good. I think he has a lot of potential. I’m interested to see what he can do on the defensive side of the ball because that’s how you win games in the NBA… he’s super talented offensively, but it’s going to be a balance between everything.”
The only glaring weakness in Fultz’s game has been his lack of effort on the defensive side of the ball. Though many have noted that he has the physical tools to become a great defender, there’s still no promise that he’ll ever assume that role. Players such as John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden are examples of players who possess the physical tools to be solid defenders but all too often opt not to defend. Like those players, Fultz was burdened with manufacturing a majority of the offense for his team, and that may have contributed to his defensive flaws. Regardless, this team has built a reputation as a hard-nosed defensive team, and there’s no doubt that Fultz will be pushed to become a competent defender so that he can begin to build those habits early in his career.