Celtics 113, Kings 86: It turns out Jaylen Brown was the right pick

Celtics 113, Kings 86: It turns out Jaylen Brown was the right pick

Do you remember the days leading up to that 2016 NBA Draft?

The Celtics were just starting to enter back into relevance while armed with the No. 3 overall pick. The names and possibilities were flying all over the place. Trade for Jahlil Okafor. Or how about really unloading the future for someone like Jimmy Butler? Then there were the kids available in the draft.

The idea of Providence’s Kris Dunn was gaining some steam. The unknown and upside of Dragan Bender elicited thoughts of the next Dirk Nowitzki. And perhaps the guy most fans wanted to help solve the Celtics’ outside shooting dilemma was Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, who had just mesmerized the month before in the NCAA Tournament.

Then the announcement was made: Jaylen Brown.

(Sad trombone.)

It really wasn’t a surprise that the Celtics’ selection of Brown was met with shoulder shrugs. He did, after all, play on the West Coast for Cal, and most anybody in these parts who surmised it was a good or bad pick probably hadn’t seen him play, with the possible exception of some YouTube clips.

But there we were Wednesday night, watching Brown score 22 points in just under 25 minutes (7-for-8 from the field), leading the Celtics to a resounding 113-86 victory over Hield’s Sacramento club. It was just the latest round of proof that this was a pretty good pick for Danny Ainge. (For a complete recap the Celtics’ win, click here.)

The 21-year-old is averaging just more than 16 points and six rebounds per game, having scored 18 or more points in five of his eight games. He is also 16-for-39 from beyond the three-point stripe.

“You know what was interesting: I thought that he only took eight shots, but obviously 22 points on eight shots is great.  I thought that he – he took all the right ones,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. ” He didn’t force anything. I thought he was really, really active defensively when he was in there and I thought that obviously when he gets going out on the open floor on cuts, when he gets an angle at the rim, he’s really good.  So I thought he played really well and, you know, that’s a good thing.  We believe in his shooting; that’s for sure.”

Helping cement the confidence that Brown was the right guy at the right time was the presence of Hield, who did finish with 17 points. He is undoubtedly a solid player, coming into the game averaging 10.3 points per game. But to think that the guard has the upside of Brown seems misguided.

As for the other guys the Celtics didn’t pick, Bender was taken with the next pick by the Suns and has been a dud. The 19-year-old is averaging just 4.9 points per game after a rookie season that saw him total 3.4 points and 13.3 minutes a contest. As for Dunn, he hasn’t distinguished himself. Now playing for Chicago after averaging 3.8 points a game in Minnesota, the point guard has played in just two games for the Bulls after sitting out the beginning of the season with a dislocated finger.

And, as it turned out, Okafor might ultimately end up with the Celtics, after all. According to reports out of Philadelphia, the C’s have shown the most interest in the forward, who is languishing on the Sixers’ bench.

There’s still obviously a long way to go before any final determinations are made about that 2016 Draft, but what the latest Celtics’ win did was make Boston feel pretty good about its approach that day.



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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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