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Jaylen Brown is ready for another leap

Brown looks like he’s already in midseason form.

Boston Celtics v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

The preseason is usually the time of year where basketball teams shake off the cobwebs, readjust to the game, and try new things. The Boston Celtics, however — and most notably, Jaylen Brown are already in midseason form.

After suffering a Game 6 loss at TD Garden to the dynastic Golden State Warriors, Brown could not wait to get back. He used the bitter taste of defeat as fuel for the fire to grind through the whole summer.

“The shoes that I wore the last game of the season, I wore in every workout that I had this summer…” said Brown. “You see those shoes now — they’re damn near in shreds.”

Following the determination Brown displayed all last season, the time has come for him to take the next step. The question is: how does he do it?

In order for Brown to find himself back in the All-Star Game for the second time, he needs to stay consistent. On a game-to-game basis, Brown is one of the most reliable guys on the roster. He averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last year. But from a quarter-to-quarter basis, he can be hot or cold. Some games he’ll come out on fire, and then get completely shut down in the second half, or vice versa.

Part of staying consistent for Brown is working on his turnovers. Throughout the playoff run, it seemed as though every other game was near double digit turnovers for him, finishing with a total of 74 in the playoffs.

Another piece to the All-Star campaign puzzle is his free throw shooting. While Brown hit 76.3% at the charity stripe last year, compared to a league average of 77.5%, for him to make that big leap forward, not only does he have to consistently get to the line, but hit them, too. He can’t have any part of his game be considered a liability.

Another milestone Brown will aim to achieve is All-NBA honors. With a contract extension discussion looming on the horizon, the Celtics may need to back up the Brinks trucks for Brown. The most likely scenario will have Brown signing a $165 million, four–year extension after the 2022-23 season. Brown can turn that into a five-year, $290 million extension if he wins either MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or gets named to an All-NBA Team.

As it stands after only three preseason games, Brown is averaging 22 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in only 25 minutes. If he’s able to maintain stats like that throughout the regular season, Brown will be perfectly poised to take that leap towards his second All-Star appearance, potentially as a starter this time around, and quite possibly a shot at All-NBA honors.

Regardless, it’s easy to forget that Brown is still only 25 years old. Being so young, he’s still developing and hasn’t come close to entering his playing prime yet, but it might be what’s happening off the court that could be Brown’s biggest leap this season. So far in training camp, his maturity and leadership has stood out after a summer of drama.

Even at the same age, Brown has taken Mfiondu Kabengele under his wing and is working with him to help with his development. Kabengele is on a two-way contract and is unlikely to see substantial minutes and yet, Brown has made an effort to make a connection with everybody on the roster, top to bottom. Whether it’s working with younger guys like Payton Pritchard playing one-on-one, welcoming in new vets such as Blake Griffin, or being the face of the franchise along with Tatum, Brown has really come a long way in terms of his maturity level.

After a young star finds their name headlining different trade packages, it could create a sense of resentment towards the team or turmoil for locker room chemistry. However, Brown found his name at the top of every single trade rumor once Kevin Durant requested his trade from the Brooklyn Nets and handled it better than anyone could’ve imagined.

“I’ve talked to my teammates, I’ve talked to ownership, the organization, etc. I’ll keep those conversations between us,” said Brown. “All I can say is now that I’m here, I’m ready to play basketball. I’m in great shape. Probably the best shape of my life. So I’m excited to start the journey. Things haven’t gone to the start that we wanted it to go, but that’s life sometimes. So, put our best foot forward and do what we gotta do.”

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