Jaylen Brown has been one of the most criticized players in the NBA. Remember when his selection at the 2016 NBA Draft drew boos at a Celtics watch party? Often scrutinized for costly turnovers and poor left-handed dribble skills, Brown only fueled talk on social media after his poor performance in the Celtics season opener against the Knicks. Since then, Brown has silenced the haters with his most recent performance against the Wizards.
Celtics fans, don’t be alarmed, Jaylen Brown has fully embraced his role in the locker room, and has only winning on his mind. With so much talent on this roster, he emphasizes it’s important to not stay complacent, and to keep that winning mentality all season long. “There’s still a lot of stuff to build. Chemistry. We have a lot of tests that we are going to experience this season,” Brown said.
“It's tough being talented. It invites laziness. It invites complacency,” the C’s guard continued. “That’s going to be our enemy this season—us versus us. Our leaders on the team have to make sure that we emphasize from the top to the bottom: we have to run through the finish line.”
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 69 points tonight pic.twitter.com/hGAmILxE50— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 31, 2023
I don’t know what Brown ate for breakfast Monday morning, but he seemed to cast a spell on a newly restructured Wizards team. A team that lacks a true super star and identity, Washington chose to run with a smaller lineup, starting Kyle Kuzma at center. Able to take advantage of size, the Celtics came out of the gate extremely aggressive.
“Keep being aggressive, take what the defense gives you,” said Brown. “That’s really it — try to be aggressive on every catch, trust your odds, and make the right plays.”
Far from perfect, Boston moves to 3-0 after a 126-107 win over the Washington Wizards. Brown finished with a team high 36 points on 8-13 (61.5 percent) three-point shooting. JB was a force on the defensive end, adding three steals and one block. 16 of his 36 points alone came in the first quarter, and both Brown and Tatum cooked up for a combined 69 points.
We can forget Jaylen Browns awful 11-point performance against the Knicks on Opening Night. He’s made up for it and then some after two consecutive 25+ point performances. After turning the ball over six times in the first two games, Brown didn’t commit a single turnover in DC.
For Boston and Jaylen Brown, it’s important to establish these leads early on in the season, and in games. With the departure of Marcus Smart, both Brown and Tatum have stepped up in terms of leadership and vocalization.
“It’s important that we can get off to a good start to the season,” Brown said. “Mindset, mentality is something that we’ve all been preaching. Joe [Mazzulla] has been emphasizing that.”
Before we get ahead of ourselves, yes, the Wizards aren’t a great team. However, it’s encouraging to see this type of poise and effort from the young duo so early on. More impressively, the C’s starters combined for 100 points in the second consecutive game, and through the first three quarters. Joe Mazzulla had the luxury to rotate the bench players in the final quarter.
With a 15-5 run to start the first quarter, Boston outscored the Wizards 42-19, in large part to Jaylen. A career average of 19.5 points in 19 career games against Washington, we haven’t seen this sort of dominance from Brown since he drained ten three pointers against the Magic in 2021. Completely dialed in, Brown scorched the Wizards. Half of his eight three pointers were unassisted. Brown, who just signed a five-year, $303 million supermax extension with the Celtics, finished 13-24 (54.2 percent) from the floor.
Standing at 6 ‘6’, 230 pounds, Brown was able to utilize his size and mismatches, especially against guard Jordan Poole, rookie Bilal Coulibaly, and Deni Avdija. Jaylen Brown absolutely cooked Poole, scoring 11 points on 100 percent (3-3) three-point shooting. With such a differential in height and weight, it was encouraging to see Brown work Coulibaly in the post, and attack in the lane against Avdija.
In his eighth season with Boston, Jaylen Brown has a swagger that’s different from prior seasons. Completely locked in, no one wants a championship more than him and Jayson Tatum. Humble in the post-game presser, Brown has made it clear it’s not about individual performances. Although last matchup was Jaylen’s game, the Celtics will have several options to rely on over the course of the season. Understanding every night won’t be his best, the Celtics and Jaylen Brown have one goal in common. “The most important thing is that we find ways to get wins.”
“We definitely want to keep playing the flow of the game, keep playing and making the right plays, the right matchups. It’s going to be days where JT is going to have a good one, there’s going to be days where KP is going to have it— Jrue, Derrick White, even guys off the bench,” Brown said.
“It didn’t matter who was on the floor, it’s about us,” Brown continued. “We just come out, and we have a lot of talent—we’re going to be more talented than a lot of teams. We just try to take advantage of all of our opportunities. We had some open looks, we were aggressive, we got some points in the paint, got KP [Porzingis] going a little bit, and we made a lot of shots.”