Jae Crowder has formed a bond with Jaylen Brown, who reminds him of Stanley Johnson
It seems as though Brown has already sought out his mentor in Boston, as per Chris Forsberg of ESPN:
"Jae Crowder, he’s like my big bro," said Brown. "I hung out with him a lot this weekend, and he’s been pulling me aside [in practice] and talking to me. He’s a great dude. I appreciate him for being around and giving me advice. A lot of times people don’t reach out to do that, especially for somebody in my position. For Jae Crowder to be such a mentor and a person that’s just super cool, man -- it’s like, instantly, he’s one of my favorite people to deal with."
Although he admits that he is learning from several of his teammates, one of the reasons Brown believes that he has formed a bond with Crowder is because they share so much in common:
"[Crowder has] been around the league for a long time. I feel like you can learn a lot from anybody. I could learn a lot from Avery Bradley, I can learn a lot from Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas. But Jae Crowder, because he does play my position and he’s from Georgia as well, so we kinda see things in the same light. It just makes it that much more surreal. He actually played for my same AAU team back in the day. So we have an even bigger connection like that. We kinda see eye-to-eye and he's a good dude."
When Crowder looks at Brown, he sees a very young player that carries himself in a much more sophisticated way than many his age. He cites Brown’s interests beyond basketball as another reason for their instant connection:
"He’s everything that I wanted to be at that age," said Crowder. "He’s very mature, beyond his years. He’ll have a conversation with you about anything. I like that, personally. I don’t always want to talk about basketball. I want a guy that I can go be at home with and just chill and talk about anything. He loves music, just like me. He’s into music, he makes beats and stuff like that. I just wanted to get to know him a little bit more."
As he prepared for his rookie season, Brown spent time with Chicago Bulls forward and Crowder’s fellow Marquette University alumni, Jimmy Butler this summer. Crowder was pleased to see the 6’7 forward learning from the hard-working All-Star.
4 September 2016
"Us just talking to him and taking him in, it’s big for him. I think he knows that," said Crowder. "He’s aware of it. I was telling him, 'You hanging around with Jimmy is the right thing. When I saw you do that, I knew you were on the right path, because Jimmy is a great worker.' If he’s going to work, then all the rest of that stuff kinda plays itself. I think us being in his corner is going to help him out a lot."
Brown’s raw athleticism has attracted exciting comparisons to some elite NBA talent. The player that Crowder feels Brown shares the most similarities with is Detroit Pistons’ two-way forward Stanley Johnson, according to Jay King of MassLive.com.
Johnson’s progress was so rapid during his first NBA season that he carried the self-confidence to verbally challenge LeBron James during his team’s first-round series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the comments were ill-advised, Johnson rightfully believed in himself, as he had shown discipline, determination and an advanced knowledge of the game.
If Crowder’s comparison is anything to go by, Boston fans can expect a strong first year from Brown, as he attempts to establish himself as an NBA player.
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Melissa Majchrzak - NBAE via Getty Images