This trend has continued into the start of this season, and after Brown’s stellar performance on Wednesday night, he can no longer be overlooked. Brown finished with a career-high 42 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Celtics’ dominant 126-107 victory over the Grizzlies.
It was a brilliant outing, and exactly what the Celtics and their fans would like to see from Brown. Not just because of the large numbers, but because it has shown its continued growth in a number of areas.
The 3-point shot was one of Brown’s biggest weaknesses in the league, but he quietly turned it into a strength. He’s now a reliable type of catch-and-shoot, downing 41.9% of those attempts last season. Against the Grizzlies, he went 7 out of 10 from downtown to tie a career-high, and although he hit a few looks he also showed his game off of the dribble. After his big night, he’s 44% to 3 on the season and continues to prove that teams need to keep him beyond the arc.
Gambling is another area in which Brown’s game has progressed. He didn’t have to do much when he arrived in Boston, but that has changed as he has played a bigger role in the offense, especially this season with Gordon Hayward gone and Kemba Walker put out. deviation due to knee injury.
Brown rose to the challenge and averages 3.4 assists per game, which would be a career record. He does better reads when he walks into the alley, as you can see here. (Further in the section on ball handling, there is another example.)
And he also threw out one of the best passes we’ve seen from anyone this season, putting the needle on Tatum during the fastbreak.
Handling the ball
It might sound simple, but one of the underlying reasons for Brown’s success in the previous two areas is that he’s much better at dribbling. His grip is tighter and faster, and he can now move confidently in tight spaces, overtake people and create opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Watch how comfortable he is here by combining a few moves before getting up for the jumper, which he drains onto a tough defenseman at Dillon Brooks.
Later in the game, he burst out all sorts of moves to shake up the defense and create an open look for Aaron Nesmith. He just didn’t have these skills early in his career.
Brown’s continuous improvement throughout his career has been a joy to watch and a testament to his desire to be great. You hear a lot about the players who take the leap, but not as much about those who gradually improve their game year after year. Brown took this less glamorous route, but he still got there.
There were doubts about him when he was drafted as the No. 3 overall pick in 2016, and he’s been thrown into business rumors for years, but he just keeps improving and proving why Danny Ainge trusted him.