Jaylen Brown with 30-point playoff game - Kawhi Leonard took 4 seasons to do it
It was a career night for Jaylen Brown. In his second season with Boston, Brown scored 30 points versus the Milwaukee Bucks last night to push the Celtics into a 2-0 record in round-one of the series. The San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard didn't notch 30 points in a playoff game until his fourth season in the League. The two players can be compared on a number of factors.
Brown just keeps stepping up his game and improving his skills. Watching the Jay-Team at work, NBA analysts continually comment on Danny Ainge's brilliance in drafting the Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum duo with the third picks in the last two drafts. Jaylen came into the League with suspect marksmanship, but a label as a high-level defender. The defense has always been there, but the offense just keeps getting better. Last night's game shows he can produce under the intense pressure of playoff basketball.
Player comparisons are never definitive but can be interesting and have value. Both Brown and Leonard were 21 years old in their second year, and both are roughly 6'7" and 225 pounds. Kawhi's line in his sophomore season was: 11.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 49% FG%, 37% on 3's. In comparison, Jaylen this season has: 14.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 47% FG%, 40% on 3's. Pretty close all around.
Leonard came into the NBA with an incredible basketball physique. Enormous wingspan and huge hands, with a lean, muscular build. Brown does not have quite the hand-size or wingspan of Leonard, but they are somewhat comparable. And the physiques are very close. Here is how DraftExpress.com viewed both NBA players prior to their respective drafts.
Jaylen has improved his game tremendously over last season, and even during this regular season. His 30-point outburst against Milwaukee demonstrates how far he has come. No one knows just how high is ceiling is, but he has not reached it yet.
His value to the Celtics, either as a long-term member of the team or as one of Ainge's trade chips, keeps growing. His name, as with most present Celtics, is often brought up in trade talk. Is he presently at the talent level of Kawhi? No, he isn't. Can he get there? There is a decent chance of that, but with no guarantees. We are just thrilled that he continually shows what a great find he was in the 2016 NBA draft.