We have two weeks to cover this time around on CelticsBlog’s Player of the Week, and they couldn’t look more different from one another. The first week saw the Celtics sandwich respectable wins over Minnesota and Portland with a pair of disappointing losses against teams outside of the playoff race, a pair of winnable games against Houston and Utah.
The second, though, looked much more like we expect from a team of this caliber. Three games, three wins, three blowouts — all by 23 points or more. They kicked off the week by thoroughly handling the third-seeded Sacramento on their home court, before returning to the TD Garden to take care of business — the later of whom they obliterated by 44 points. That’s more like it!
We had one clear constant between the two weeks, but first, let’s discuss some runners-up.
Luke Kornet alert! The tallest Celtic had a couple of effective outings to close out the first week of our sample, scoring 11 points against the Blazers and posting a statline of 8-7-3 against the Jazz. He provided a nice little surge of energy while the lineup lacked Robert Williams III, who returned against the Kings on Tuesday and contributed nicely on limited minutes in each game since.
Derrick White’s remarkable season has continued, and he very nearly claimed the hardware himself in the second week of our sample on the strength of a 20-5-8 stat line. The end of the season is approaching and as we consider options for our Player of the Year, his case continues to strengthen.
That said, both of these weeks had a rather easy answer in the end.
CelticsBlog Player of the Week #20 and #21: Jaylen Brown
7 GP, 35.9 MPG, 32.1 PTS (55% FG, 43% 3PT), 7.1 REB, 3.6 AST, +66
To hear the NBA tell it, Brown wasn’t just the best Celtic last week — he was the best player in the Eastern Conference. Brown took home his third NBA Player of the Week award for his play against Sacramento, Indiana and San Antonio.
Brown has been good all season, but in March, he’s also finally been healthy. He’s been a regular in the lineup essentially for the first time since 2023 began. He shuffled in and out of the lineup for much of January and February, before an inadvertent elbow from Tatum shut him down until the All-Star game — which earned the protective mask he’s wearing now.
Being able to stay on the court consistently has helped Brown show his quality. He’s been the most consistent offensive engine on the team, especially with Tatum struggling to avoid the dreaded “tour date” shooting lines, (with 4-of-12 and 4-of-16 performances to his name in the first week of our sample). Since the All-Star break, he’s scored at least 24 points in 13 of his last 15 games, cracking 30 in six and 40 twice. With scoring numbers inflated league-wide, it’s easy to overlook just how valuable that kind of reliable offensive production can be.
There are positive indicators galore in Brown’s recent play. For starters, his three-point shot has quietly had a nice little resurgence. After shooting just 33% from deep across the first four months of the season, he’s connected on 38% of his threes since the start of February, a span of 18 games. By nature of their roles and the defensive attention they receive, both he and Tatum are going to struggle to post three-point percentages that reflect their actual talent as shooters — it’s hard to be Steph Curry or Dame Lillard, after all — but they’re both better than the low-30s, and the positive regression for Brown has been a welcome development.
Then there’s the big pain point in Brown’s game: the playmaking. We’ve already covered Brown’s growth as a passer here at CelticsBlog, but suffice to say, his processing and decision-making has very much seemed to improve in recent weeks. He’s never going to be a primary initiator type from the wing in the same vein that the Celtics deploy Tatum, but increased levels of awareness and confidence are a welcome development. A team can never have enough secondary creators, especially one with championship hopes.
The San Antonio win didn’t necessarily come against the toughest competition, but it nonetheless served as a nice little capstone for two weeks of great basketball from Brown. He scored 41 points on 18-of-29 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished three assists — his second 40-point game in two weeks, and third of the season. He was on the Spurs from the jump, scoring 15 points in the first quarter on a night where the Celtics lacked scoring juice in Tatum’s absence.
Just two weeks remain in the NBA season, which means just two more Player of the Week awards lie ahead of us. For our penultimate award, we’re looking at a three-game sample: Tuesday’s RESULT at the Wizards, Thursday’s heavyweight bout against the Bucks and Friday’s revenge game against the Jazz. We’ll be back next week to discuss our next-to-last Player of the Week.