Danny Ainge,”Backing up the Brinks Truck” for Jaylen Brown

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As the NBA season begins, the spotlight will shine down heavily on fourth-year Jaylen Brown. Recently the Boston Celtics awarded the athletic guard with a 4 year, $115 million dollar contract, first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This move will pay Jaylen Brown more per year than the likes of proven All-Stars Draymond Green and Victor Oladipo, according to BasketbalReference.com

Observed by most as a work in progress, Brown looks to prove his worth. Jaylen has yet to average fifteen points a game in a season and has not been selected to an All-Star game. The inconsistencies in Brown’s game are what made the critics cringe when the extension was announced. The California-Berkley alumn has shown glimpses of star power, but not over a full season. The move made by Danny Ainge has been criticized by many fans and executives around the league. Investing 115 million dollars into a player is a risk, especially when the move is based solely on potential. In the era of “position-less basketball”, the “do-it-all” guard is an ideal fit for Brad Steven’s system making the team forced to lockup a huge corner-stone of today and the future regardless of the cost. Jaylen has shown promise, as he increased his scoring by almost 8 points a game from his rookie to sophomore season. Brown can rise into one of the best two-way guards in the NBA. His length and athleticism sets him apart from most and was a huge reason the Celtics drafted him third overall in 2016. The athleticism and explosiveness show up in his highlight-reel dunks, but Jaylen has consistently played out of control. The stat lines don’t show it, but over the past three seasons Brown has time and time again missed breakaway lay-ups, dribbled off his foot, or even tried to take on two defenders, resulting in an easy turnover for the opposition. Last year, number seven took a step back, with his totals in rebounds, assists, and points all decreased slightly in the year in which he was projected to morph into one of the league’s next stars.

The deal keeps the young core intact. Signing Brown does limit the team in free agency. Boston will not be in the mix for a top free-agent due to their salary cap situations. Although the deal keeps the team from making more moves, it does not stop the Celtics from extending Jayson Tatum after this season. Signing Tatum will be possible but the team will be forced to pay a hefty luxury tax bill.

This season, the Celtics are looking for Jaylen Brown to be more efficient, especially from the charity stripe where he has yet to post over 70% on free throws. In defense of Danny Ainge, his plan has crumbled from within. A year ago, he sat comfortably overlooking a championship favorite. With the departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford to in-conference foes, this Celtics team is looking to get a lift from their young up and coming stars. Jaylen Brown along with Jayson Tatum must take the jump in order for this once up and coming team to boost themselves back up to the top of the East. 

The Celtics find themselves 2-1 on this young season. Brown and the Celtics started off sluggish, in the season-opening loss to Philadelphia. Brown was not any help to his team, totaling only 8 points. The poor performance has acted as a wake-up call for not only Jaylen but his team. 

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brown and the Celtics have gone on to win their next two games against the defending champion Toronto Raptors and rebuilding the New York Knicks. In those games, the newly paid member of the team showed what he’s capable of, racking up 25 points,9 rebounds against Toronto and 19 points, 4 rebounds in New York. Jaylen Brown has shown promise early in the season and maybe proving he is worth the investment. Brown has had his struggles from deep lately, shooting only 28.6% from that range, but the season is still young. Jaylen Brown is still on track to record career highs in Points, Rebounds, and Field Goal Percentage

As the season ramps up, Boston hopes to exceed their surprisingly low expectations, after a disappointing end to last season. Jaylen Brown must prove he is worth 115 million, for his own sake and for the sake of Danny Ainge’s future with the Celtics. In a wide-open Eastern Conference, there is no reason why the Celtics should not have finals aspirations. Their dreams could come to fruition if the team’s young stars highlighted by Jaylen Brown can take the next step, elevating the team to the top of the Eastern Conference.