After one strong season with the Cal Bears, guard Jaylen Brown made his NBA debut with the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, and was quite impressive.
The California Golden Bears’ basketball season is still a couple weeks away, but last year’s star made his NBA debut on Wednesday night. Boston Celtics’ rookie Jaylen Brown was on the floor for the season-opening game with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics made the Cal product the third overall pick in last summer’s draft, taking a bit of a risk on the ultra-athletic, but still a bit raw, teenager. He was the first player off the bench for Boston on Wednesday.
In 19 minutes during his first taste of NBA action, Brown scored nine points while making three of his four shot attempts. He also grabbed two rebounds, dished an assist, and recorded two blocks and a steal.
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Brown, just barely 20 years old now, scored the first points of the season by a 2016 first-round pick. Early in Brown’s shift in the first quarter, point guard Isaiah Thomas drove to the rim. He dished to Brown on the block, and Brown muscled past Brooklyn big man Luis Scola before laying it off the glass.
That was just the beginning of an impressive debut for Brown. Later in the opening quarter, Brown made highlight reels for a dunk he didn’t make. Brown drove across the baseline and went up for the big slam. Brown ran into Net Justin Hamilton, and the collision caused Brown’s dunk attempt to fall well short. As a consolation prize, Brown made a pair of free throws. Though just a rookie in his first shift, Brown showed he isn’t afraid of anyone standing in his way.
In the fourth quarter, Brown showed off his athleticism again against guard Joe Harris. With Harris guarding on the wing, Brown shook free. Jonas Jerebko hit him with a very nice bounce pass, allowing Brown to ease his way to the net for a dunk. A little later, Brown posted up against Harris and gave a little preview to his inside game. On the low block, Brown tried to shake Harris with a spin move, but the Nets’ guard played him tough. Brown stepped back and took a fadeaway jumper, which went high off the glass before going through.
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There was also a great pass in transition that led to a Thomas lay-up, and a great recovery for a block following a Harris drive. Brown showed off a lot of ability in just his debut, but there will be plenty of room to grow.
Brown also grabbed attention for his choice in uniform. He wore classic “short shorts” during his debut, looking like a player straight from the 1980’s. Brown wouldn’t say if he was bringing back the tight shorts look, but his teammate Thomas spoke for him. You know what they say, “look good, play good”.
The Celtics held a big lead for most of the game, holding a double-digit edge just about all night. The lead was at 20 with just under seven minutes to go, but the Nets went on a big run to get very close. The Nets outscored Boston 25-8 over the next six-plus minutes to cut the lead down to three, 120-117. A defensive stop at the end and an extra bucket sealed the win for Boston.
Brown and the Celtics continue their campaign on Thursday with a matchup against the Chicago Bulls.