Jaylen Brown making big strides in his sophomore season

Jaylen Browns' rookie campaign was certainly different than those of his 2016 lottery peers. As the number three overall pick by the Boston Celtics, he was drafted by a playoff team, with a chance at the championship. This is something no top-five selection has done since 2012.

With this being said, it forced Brown to grow up quicker because he had to make the most out of his minimal opportunities. Throughout most of the season he struggled to see the floor much because of the plethora of wings he was behind.

"I've hit that rookie wall a few times but it's all mental," Brown said during an interview regarding his rookie season. "I've got to be locked in everyday and be prepared to help this team...Scoring the ball, guarding different positions, I'm ready to to do whatever is needed for me."

One thing that fans, coaches and players noticed during his rookie season, was his ability to drive to the basketball. His main asset that got him recognition, was his athleticism which allowed him to make highlight reels with his "flashy" plays.

Brown starred in a YouTube series dedicated to his offseason journey called Hone the pressure, it makes diamonds. Throughout the episodes, they captured an impeccable image of his motivation and grind to stardom.

After a dedicated offseason to the weight room and the gym, Brown has proven this season that he is here to play ball. After the shocking Gordon Hayward injury, Brown was forced to step up and take on the majority of the scoring Hayward would have added.

The 21 year old has had a breakout year, averaging 15.4 points, 5.9 rebounds 1 assist while shooting 42.9% from the field. Brown has been legal to drink alcohol for one week and he is already in conversation for Most Improved Player and/or All-Star, showing he has only scratched the surface of his potential.

Here's a video of a more muscular Brown taking it to the hole like a 10 year veteran.

The acquisition of Kyrie Irving has benefited Browns game because they seem to gel better than Brown did with Isaiah Thomas last season. Irving is a strong ball-handler which helps him facilitate ball movement. The constant moving of the ball makes opposing defenses break down, leading to easy buckets.

Watch how Irving dribbles into the defense of the San Antonio Spurs and then kicks the ball out to Brown, leading to two points.

The Celtics have played much better when Brown is on the court due to the defense he brings and his ability to score the ball. His defense has helped the Celtics claim the spot as the third best defense in the league. Browns +/- rating has been amazing, giving Brad Stevens a reason to keep him on the court.

After winning five straight games, the Celtics now hold the best record in the NBA. This Celtics team is young, athletic, motivated and exciting to watch. Even without Gordon Hayward, this team will be competitive and maybe even make a run at the 18th banner!

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA Today  Sports