I’ve seen enough.
Jaylen Brown is going to be the next great Celtic. He will be the first great Celtic we’ll get to see grow all the way from rookie, to perennial All-Star, to cagey veteran since Paul Pierce. Book it.
Seriously, there’s just something about this kid. Just watching him away from the basketball, he is all sorts of active – almost spastic. When he has the ball, we’ve already seen him do things that he shouldn’t be able to do – like that turnaround, fade-away bank shot he had against the Nets on opening night. In that instance, the kid from Cal looked like Kobe Bryant circa 2007. Rookies, even rookies drafted in the top 3, are not supposed to try that shot – let alone hit it.
Against the Bulls on night two, Brown effortlessly hit a mid-range bucket – looking exactly like Kawhi Leonard. It was beautiful. A throwback.
We have yet to be treated to one of his patented tomahawk dunks, but it’s coming.
Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge obviously agree with me that Brown is going to be something special as the rook has averaged 19.5 minutes through his first two games. That’s pretty damn high for a rookie that’s playing on a deep team that’s expected to reach 50 wins.
Against the Bulls on Thursday night, Brown basically played the entire fourth quarter – gaining valuable experience. He screwed up massively in the closing minutes with the Celtics down two, getting caught in the air and being called for a traveling violation. That game looked like it was headed for OT until Brown F’d up.
Make no mistake, though, that won’t deter Stevens from putting him out there in crunch time going forward. The Celtics’ brass sees the big picture. Brown is learning the NBA the hard way, and you can almost see him getting mentally better each minute he’s on the floor.
On opening night against the Nets, he scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting in 19 minutes, pulled down two rebounds, had an assist, a steal and two blocks. Against the Bulls the next night, he registered eight points on 4-of-7 shooting in 20 minutes, had one rebound and one assist. Not exactly Chamberlain-esque stat lines, but he’s not even a week into his career, and the monster numbers will come (for reference, Kobe scored a grand total of six points in his first three career games).
Now, it’s been a little difficult to find a good NBA player comparison for Brown. His NBADraft.net profile listed him as a “Jason Richardson – Jimmy Butler type.”
Hell, he reminds me of a young Kobe (hyperbole hyshrmerbole!). Some guy on Twitter told me he reminds him of Dominique Wilkins (meh). Many others have said he’s Dee Brown 2.0 (wears No. 7, is skinny, has an early ’90s hairstyle, is actually named Brown … but that’s just too easy).
No doubt, Brown will be the most intriguing player on the Celtics this season. As all potentially great rookies do, he will have some spectacular moments and some horribly ugly moments - and we have already seen a mix of both. But there will be guaranteed growth from now until the end of the season. So much so that Ainge will place him on his very short “do not trade” list (as high a compliment as any).
I’ve seen enough, as Brown passes the eye ball test with flying colors. The No. 3 overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, who got the Donovan McNabb treatment from Boston fans on draft night, will be the next great Celtic. Mark it down.