Team USA Update: Watch out because Jaylen Brown is about to become a monster
Jaylen Brown looks to be arriving on a large stage for Team USA. Photo cred: Garrett Ellwood/FIBA 2014
After Team USA dropped their last exhibition game against Team Australia, Jaylen Brown did not hold back on his comments according to John Karalis of MassLive:
“We got to change our mentality. We’re playing for something bigger than ourselves.”
“Having an understanding of that and a humility of that is something we all have to have. I think we could have showed that a little bit better against Australia.”
“We got to do a better job of having the right mentality, whether it’s an early game, whether it’s a back-to-back, whatever it is. We got to come out and be the aggressors, rather than the one being seeked.”
Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart were named co-captains, along with Donovan Mitchell, but Brown’s comments are that of a leader. He has always seemed wise beyond his years, but his words may hold more weight now that he is arriving as a player.
Jaylen Brown usually walks the walk after he talks the talk. Scored a team-best 19 points today after calling out Team USA’s approach to exhibition games prior to the FIBA World Cup.
Team USA controlled the game against Team Canada (USA won 84-68) earlier this morning on the back of Brown’s 19 points in 19 minutes on 8-11 shooting. He also tied for the team lead with a positive +/- of 16.
Brown’s hard, versatile defense has been on display during the exhibition tour, but he can look like one of the best players on the court when he’s scoring with that type of efficiency. What makes the Boston Celtics so intriguing for the upcoming season is that any of five or six players can be the best player on any given night.
In a game where Jayson Tatum chipped in just six points on 2-11 shooting, we see how Brown can pick up the slack. Walker was steady in this game where he scored a very efficient 12 points on 3-5 shooting. And Smart just took one shot and didn’t score in 17 minutes, but we know that the stat sheet doesn’t always tell us how he impacts the game. Smart unsurprisingly led the team with three steals.
There’s been mixed feelings this summer with four Celtics playing for Team USA, especially after watching Smart nurse a leg injury for most of camp. Is there going to be added wear-and-tear? Are they going to be able to mesh with other players stateside in time for the season? What happens if they suffer a real injury?
But the biggest positive that these players can take away from this tournament is confidence. I’ve said it before - to be an elite NBA player you likely have a bit of an ego with tons of confidence. For a young player, like Brown, playing on the stage of the FIBA World Cup and succeeding will only boost that confidence.
This summer hasn’t lacked chatter of elite duo potential of Walker and Tatum. We’ve also pondered if Gordon Hayward could come back to his former self and assume the third-banana role. But a successful tournament for Brown could propel him into a career year.
It may be irresponsible to predict top-10 potential for Brown, but we’ve seen similar players on the same trajectory in the past. Is the sky the limit?
Kawhi Leonard and Hayward had similar third seasons to Brown before making a big leap in year four. Both are better shooters than Brown, but they have similar numbers across the board that could lead us to expect Brown to pop this year. Especially since his shooting stroke has become better and more confident.
Brown may not become an All Star this year due to the fact he will need to share shots with other really good players on his team, but he has the tools to be that caliber player in year four after a summer where he’s been able to grow and find his game with confidence.
And don’t look now, but Brown is wearing no. 9 for Team USA now that the final roster has been set. Maybe some of Team USA magic will wear off on Brown as players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have all worn the number for Team USA. That’s some pretty good company.
Let’s not be too surprised when Jaylen Brown becomes a monster this year. The writing is on the wall.