By: Cristofer Zillo
The Boston Celtics have selected 3rd in the NBA Draft for the past two years, bolstering their roster with fresh young talent. In the 2016 NBA Draft, the C’s took Jaylen Brown, an athletic, 6’7” wing scorer from California. In the 2017 NBA Draft, they picked up Jayson Tatum, a polished and mature wing from Duke. Of course, both players exhibit entirely different play-styles that benefit the team in multiple aspects. However, who, out of the two, will have a bigger impact during the 2017-2018 season?
As demonstrated by his impressive Summer League play, Jayson Tatum is a fantastic isolation scorer. Whether it is a step-back from the corner, or a fadeaway from the elbow, Tatum has an inherent ability to put the ball in the basket. From what was seen during the Summer, it seems as though he needs the ball in his hands to score and he is, quite simply, athletic enough. Moreover, he isn’t a player with supreme handle, which is fine because he fits into the “wing” position of Coach Brad’s system. This is not to say that the kid isn’t special. His pull-up jumper to win the game against the Summer Sixers was reminiscent of Paul Pierce for many Celtics fans. The Rookie of the Year award is within his reach, as well. If he manages to adjust to the level of NBA defense rather swiftly, he can wreak havoc as an isolation scorer for the second unit.
Jaylen Brown, with a year of NBA experience, is ready for his second season. The best word to describe Brown is explosive. His numerous posterizing dunks and mesmerizing layups throughout last season proved that he is, of course, athletic, but his greatest gift is his mind. He is bold enough to be unintimidated by stars such as LeBron James and intelligent enough to take classes at MIT on the side. Based on his training videos on YouTube, Brown loves to work on his body and on his basketball skill-set. His greatest weakness was his handle, and many fans hoped that this particular aspect of his game was improved this offseason. Unfortunately, his dribbles looked as shaky as ever during the Summer League, and he turned the ball over too many times to demonstrate any improvement at all. This is particularly unsettling, especially because he loves to drive to the rim.
Early on in the season, expect Jaylen Brown to have a bigger role and impact. He’s fantastic at cutting to the rim, and he understands his own particular niche in the roster. However, it’s quite possible that he will begin to do too much with the ball and continue to turn the ball over. With more confidence, he will begin to tear up the league and terrorize defenses. As for Jayson Tatum, once he begins to become comfortable he will be a viable scorer off the bench, potentially scoring 10+ points per game. Do not ignore the fact that the two will dominate the second unit. Although Tatum changed his number from 11 to 0, the legend of 7/11 will continue through their bond on the court.