Jaylen Brown, former member of the Cal men’s basketball team and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, has been selected to 2016-17 All-Rookie 2nd-Team. Over 78 games with the Boston Celtics, Brown averaged 6.6/2.8/0.8 (points, rebounds, assists) on .454/.341/.685 (field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free throw percentage) shooting.
Brown joins Jamal Murray, Brandon Ingram, Marquese Chriss and Yogi Ferrell on the All-Rookie 2nd Team. Notching selections on the All-Rookie 1st Team was Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon as well as Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, Buddy Hield and Willy Hernangomez.
Boston head coach Brad Stevens didn’t gift Brown with a plethora of playing time in his rookie season as the small forward only averaged 17.2 minutes per game, the 12th most among qualified rookies. In 65 percent of games in which Brown stepped on the court, he played 20 minutes or less.
Brown proved his worth when granted an ample amount of playing time, averaging 11.4/4.2/1.1 over 26.9 MPG during games in which he played 20 or more minutes. Of the 22 games in which Brown touched double-digits in the scoring column, 17 of such instances came when he played 20+ minutes.
Despite limited on-court action, Brown rose to the occasion the most in games of substance. In his fifth career game, Brown was called on to start against none other than LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Matched up against the league’s best player, Brown dropped 19/5/2 while knocking down three shots from downtown and recording three steals and a block. The rookie led Boston that game with a +/- of +15 in the Celtics’ 128-122 loss.
Brown would encounter James and the Cavaliers many months later in the Eastern Conference Finals. While the Celtics would drop the series in five games, Brown took advantage of an opportunity many rookies don’t receive and played his heart out, averaging 9.0/3.0/0.8 in only 17.0 MPG and scoring 19 points in Game 2 on 7 of 11 shooting. If one excludes his horrid Game 3 performance, Brown averaged 11.3/3.3/0.8 with a hyper-efficient FG percentage of 65.3 percent.
The rookie didn’t just excel in high-pressure games, but in high-pressure situations as well. Brown was at his best during the fourth quarter of ball games, shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point land with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 54.6 percent, by far the best percentages of any quarter. More noteworthy is that when the point margin is within five points, Brown shot a blistering 40.3 percent from downtown, knocking down 25 of 62 attempts.
One of the more surprising aspects from Brown’s debut season was his ability to knock down three-pointers. Out of college, Brown was lauded for his athleticism and slashing ability, but was by no means considered an elite shooter, knocking down only 0.9 threes per game while shooting 3.0 per game, good for a three-point percentage of 29.4 percent. Despite his poor shooting coming into the league, Brown posted respectable numbers from three-point land, knocking down 46 of 136 attempts to finish at 34.1 percent.
Brown also displayed his attributes which made him worthy of the No. 3 overall selection, converting 61.4 percent of shots within zero to three feet from the bucket and recording the sixth-most Defensive Win Shares among rookies.
Following a solid rookie campaign, Stevens will likely entrust Brown with more minutes and a larger role as the Celtics seek to defeat King James and snatch the Eastern Conference title from his clutches. Brown still must develop his all-around game, from shooting to ball handling to defense, but the former Bear’s production in his rookie season proved he’ll be around for the long run.
Justice delos Santos is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]