By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Jaylen Brown gets plenty of love here in Boston. It’s time for the rest of the NBA to take notice.
While Jayson Tatum is the undeniable No. 1 on the team, Brown is making it a much closer debate with some ridiculous play to start the 2020-21 season. Simply put, Brown has been an offensive wizard through seven games — or rather, a wizard with a flamethrower.
And we’re not just talking about Sunday’s performance, which was an insanely good one. Brown led the Celtics with 31 points in a 122-120 win over the Pistons, hitting 13 of his 16 shots for a comical 81.3 shooting percentage. He had it all going in Detroit, whether it was his mid-range jumper, aggressive charges to the rim or a slew of different three-point looks. He was draining just about everything.
Tatum is getting the end-of-game credit for hitting the go-ahead bucket, but it was Brown who canned a three on Boston’s second-to-last possession to set up Tatum’s heroics. When Brown let the shot go, there was no doubt that it was going to tickle the nylon and give the Celtics a lead.
Sunday’s performance came just two games after Brown hit 15 of his 21 attempts (good for a 71 percent shooting clip) en route to a career-high 42 points in a blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies. For the season, Brown is hitting 59.8 percent of his shots from the floor and 42.5 percent from three-point range.
Now that is efficiency. For comparison’s sake, Brown hit 48 percent and 38 percent, respectively, last season, averaging 20.3 points per game.
His gaudy shooting numbers this season have Brown putting in 28 points per game so far, which have the Boston swingman tied for fifth in the NBA. Brown is tied with C.J. McCollum, and trails only James Harden, Trae Young, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal in that category.
All those points alone would make for a great season thus far, but that’s not all Brown is doing on the floor. He’s doing a bit of everything, averaging 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game. After enjoying a breakout season last year, Brown is even better this season. With his offense now surpassing his already strong defense, Brown is the complete package for Boston.
While Tatum is going to put in a lot of points for the Celtics over his career, no one has continually raised their ceiling like Brown. Just when you think you have him locked down as a player, he goes and fine-tunes another aspect of his game. This year, it’s his efficiency, making him a deadly scoring option for Boston and a headache for opposing defenses.
It wasn’t long ago that Brown was the guy in most Celtics trade rumors. But as he continues to grow as a player, his ceiling continues to rise.
Jaylen Brown is no longer just a sidekick or running mate for Tatum. He deserves a seat up front, and in a few months, there’s a very real chance we’re discussing Brown as the most important member of the Celtics.