The Celtics won last night against the Washington Wizards despite the fact that rookie Jaylen Brown was out with an ankle injury. The Celtics were able to somehow overcome the absence of the #3 overall pick, and take down the Wizards in the 4th quarter. How you ask? Well, because, despite being the #3 pick, Jaylen Brown isn’t a significant part of the Celtics game plan. You’d think a number 3 pick would be a significant part of your team in any season, but that hasn’t been the case for the Celtics this season.
Jaylen Brown has been riding the bench all season, and it’s time that he’s been freed from his bench seat cell. I think we all expected him to be using this season to develop and improve his game, and maybe start a few games over Amir Johnson against teams the Celtics can afford to give up the size against, but instead we’ve hardly seen him at all, Jaylen gets subbed in about twice a game never to see the floor again, and historically that’s not how the superstars from that pick are formed.
Optimism is one of their best qualities of the Celtics fan, and there has been no shortage of optimism surrounding Jaylen Brown. Ever since he scored 19 points against Lebron, C’s fans have dubbed Jaylen the next Dominique Wilkins. There are similarities between the 2. Both are uber athletic small forwards who were picked 3rd overall. One big difference is Dominique played 33 minutes per game in his rookie season, and Jaylen has played a historically low amount of minutes for a #3 pick.
Jaylen is only getting 13 minutes per game this season. 13. That is extraordinarily low. Future superstars get over 30 minutes per game in their rookie seasons, not 13. Jaylen’s minutes per game are so low, that he currently ranks 3rd on this list:
Fewest Amount of Minutes For A #3 Pick In Their Rookie Season Since 1980
1. Otto Porter 8.6
2. Chris Washburn 11.0 (Out of the league in 2 years)
3. Jaylen Brown 13.1
4. Enes Kanter 13.2
5. Mike Dunleavy Jr 15.9
That's not exactly a list of the greatest players of all time. Those players combined for 0 All-Star appearances and 0 All-NBA selections. I assume most Celtics fans don’t want Jaylen Brown on any list that includes Chris Washburn. (Chris Washburn was banned from the NBA for life after failing 3 drug tests in 2 years all for cocaine.) List is essentially a list of the 3rd overall picks that have underwhelmed in their NBA careers, and I think we all want more from Jaylen Brown than that list suggests.
The biggest reason you’ll hear as to why Jaylen is only getting 13 minutes a game is because the Celtics are contending, but they can do both. Just because the Celtics are contending, doesn’t mean Jaylen Brown can’t play more, and if you think it does, than you must think pretty lowly of Jaylen Brown. Jaylen should be talented enough to not ruin the Celtics playoff chances just because he’s getting a few more minutes per game. He’s an athletic wing that can defend and slash and should be able to contribute in his time on the court. If Jaylen Brown is a true negative when he’s on the floor, than there may be no hope for him to ever turn it around.
One of the most important things to the future of the Celtics is that the Brooklyn picks turn into a superstar. Jaylen is their first attempt at that and he’s not getting enough minutes to develop into anything. If the Celtics are gonna use the Brooklyn picks on players they’re gonna have to bite the bullet and play them over the veterans on the team. Jaylen not getting minutes is a scary proposition going forward because if Brad Stevens isn’t willing to develop Jaylen Brown, why should we assume he will give Markelle Fultz, or Josh Jackson, or Lonzo Ball the minutes to develop? If Brad doesn’t play these players they’re never gonna have the chance to be any good, and the Brooklyn picks will have been wasted.
None of the superstars that were picked 3rd overall were getting less than 20 minutes per game. The James Harden’s, Michael Jordan’s, and Dominique Wilkins’ of the world were getting serious playing time with their teams. The fewest amount of minutes any superstar from the list of #3 overall picks got in their rookie season was Boston Celtics rookie forward Kevin McHale who got 20.1 minutes per game. So the magic number seems to be 20. That’s all I’m asking for from the Celtics. Get Jaylen Brown up to 20 minutes per game. That’s not asking a lot. I think Jaylen Brown has the tools and the mindset to be a really good player, but he’s not gonna become one getting 13 minutes per game.
Photo Credit: (ChatSports)