Which Young Player on the Boston Celtics Will Kick it Up a Notch?
Is your favorite young Celtic going to be the biggest contributor?
The Boston Celtics need at least one of their young players to take the next step this season. Fortunately, the team stockpiled draft picks, providing it with plenty of youngsters on the roster. But even though the Celtics have bought several potential prized tickets, that does not mean they will win the lottery by having one of their own develop into a star.
Still, it is realistic that one of their young players will exceed expectations and surprise us. The million dollar question remains: Which young player on Boston’s roster will have the biggest impact on the team this season?
In this edition, panelists had to choose from Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey, and Demetrius Jackson.
Although rookies rarely contribute to playoff teams, I believe that Jaylen Brown is one of those outliers.
He has all the tools to make the most of his playing time. It all starts with his attitude. He’s got the demeanor and maturity of someone twice his age. For example, his twitter handle is “FCHWPO”, which stands for “Faith, Consistency, and Hard Work Pays Off.” He’s also thinking about finishing up his college education at Harvard. Did I mention he is only 19 years old?
The 6’7” wing from Cal will fit nicely in Boston’s rotation even as a rook. In addition to his attitude, athleticism and effort will give him a chance to make a sizable impact this season. In the Vegas Summer League, we got a glimpse of what he is capable of contributing (despite his being hampered by a knee injury).
Brown’s path to cracking the rotation has fewer hurdles than his teammates’ and thus far he’s put himself in the best position to succeed. However, that’s not to say that the other players have not. Brown also has a little luck on his side too. His position is coincidentally one that Boston lacks depth in, which will make it easier for him to earn more minutes and even easier when he has a coach that has faith in him.
Earlier this month on the Vertical Pod with Chris Mannix, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens spoke very highly of Brown when asked about his 3-point shooting and potential:
I think he’ll be absolutely fine with continued work. And the bottom line is I do believe in him [and] in his work; I believe in his touch. I believe in the desire to improve. I believe that he’ll be a deliberate worker. He’ll be a guy that gets into the guy in the gym and works on the right things…He’s a guy that wants to be coached and he wants to learn. He wants to grow and it’s important to him.
That’s high praise considering the source. Stevens was very deliberate with his language, emphasizing the future and potential. Brown will not have the impact this season like a transcendent superstar like LeBron James or Kevin Durant has on a team. Brown has his flaws, including the fact that he’s not a reliable perimeter shooter (yet), which will be magnified on a team like Boston with such poor 3-point shooting. However, most rookies do not enter the league with a diverse and developed skill set, so he is in good company.
Like Stevens said, Jaylen will “be absolutely fine with continued work.” Throughout the summer he’s had a steady diet of training: he has worked out with Marcus Smart, focused on his defense, and continued to learn how to mentally approach the game. There’s no doubt that he’s made the effort to improve, but now we’ll have to wait to see how much his hard work will pay off next season.
We have only gotten a hint of what he will bring to this team, and there’s a lot to like about Brown. He says the right things, busts his butt in the gym, and has the “attitude” made for Boston. In short, he has the tools to make the biggest impact this season, but can he live up to the hype and put it all together? For Brown any answer other than yes is unacceptable. That’s what makes him special.