Top NBA Players 2022-23: #18 Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown comes at number 18 in our list of the best players of the upcoming 2022-2023 season. Brown has a strong claim to be considered the top player in his draft class after being selected third in 2016. In particular, he’s become a real threat from beyond the arc after having an unreliable outside shot at Cal. Brown has averaged over 20 points per game over his last three seasons and nearly 3.5 assists per game over the last two seasons.

He’s spent all six seasons with the Boston Celticsand was a big reason for the team reached the final for the first time in his career. Brown’s improvement could make or break the finals. We have discussed the expectations for the Celtics next season as a team; What can we expect from Jaylen Brown as he begins his seventh NBA season?

Click on these links to view our list recognitions and our profiles of Donovan Mitchell (no. 20) and James Harden (no. 19).

Top NBA Players 2022-23: #18 Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown’s 2022-2023 season

It’s easy to forget the breakout season Brown just enjoyed, considering Trade rumors involving Kevin Durant seemed to follow him during his summer vacations. During Brown’s The future seemed uncertain at times, he would instantly become the most desirable player in the league if Boston made him available. Brown can credibly defend every wing in the league and will be signed through the 2024 season.

Expect Brown’s three-point percentage to improve next season. His percentage dropped from 38.2% and 39.7% in the previous two seasons to 35.8% in 2021-2022. However, Brown’s free throw average was the second-best of his career, suggesting the downturn was likely a fluke. He shot only 28% on threes in the left cornerand an improvement there should increase his overall percentage.

Overall, shooting counters what makes Brown truly dangerous: He’s one of the very best half-court drivers in the NBA. While Jayson Tatum, Markus Smartand acquisition Malcolm Brogdon will do more pick and rolls, Brown will be well positioned to receive a pass and attack the muddled defense after the first action.

Unlike other names on this list, the best of Brown’s career is yet to come. Amazingly, he was only selected for one All-Star game. His off-court career has also been impressive. Brown was a Vice President of the NBA Players Association since 2019 and memorable led a peaceful protest in Georgia following the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Brown’s ability on the pitch and his leadership off the pitch combine to create a player who deserves far more national recognition. Boston’s continued team success will help Brown earn that attention.

Jaylen Brown’s areas of improvement

Brown is a great player, but there are still notable areas where he can improve. The final defeat against the Warriors of the Golden State exposed his limited grip and transient vision. While scoring effectively, he struggled with ball security and ended the streak with five turnovers in games 5 and 6. By streamlining his dribbling, he should be able to get his points more effectively.

A look at NBA.com’s Shooting Splits shows that Brown also struggled with the “floater range” last season. He only fired 38.4% of shots in the paint, but outside the restricted zone and away from the basket. This is a key spot on the pitch for Brown. He needs a consistent counterattack in this area if the defense successfully barricades the basket on his drives. Despite firing over 300 fewer shots overall than Tatum, Brown attempted more floaters overall last season, 250 to 231. Brown needs to be more efficient at this range if he continues to shoot at such a high volume.

Brown has been solid rather than spectacular on defense up to this point in his career. To be fair, his backcourt mate is Smart, who always gets the more challenging initial defensive task. Brown was also sticking to switches within Boston’s stingy defensive scheme, which was clear the best in the league last season. One wonders if there are higher heights for Brown to reach as a backup defender. Given his athleticism, it’s surprising that he was only able to contribute a block every three games or so.

The last word on Jaylen Brown

Brown played about 24 of his 33.6 minutes per game with Tatum last season. Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla could choose to keep the two stars together again for much of their minutes. Could he stagger them and lean on Brown to shore up the second unit on offense? The addition of Brogdon makes this more of an oddity than a necessity. Still, playing in more Tatum-free lineups could force Brown to further expand his creativity as a passer and ball-handler. The Celtics are good enough to experiment with minimal impact on their playoff seedings in the regular season. Brown is good enough that any significant improvement could mean the difference between Boston winning or losing the Finals.

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