Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown is about to embark on his second season as a professional athlete. He’s coming off of a successful rookie campaign where the eye test probably told you more than the numbers. The Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, and for a team actively competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy, playing time for a rookie can be hard to come by.
Despite the lack of consistent run, though, Brown performed well whenever called upon, and that’s all you can really ask for from a 20-year-old rook. He was really good, and the fact that the Celtics kept him out of trade negotiations this summer when just about everyone else was on the block should tell you that.
The Celtics have an entirely different roster this season, and getting something from Brown this year is a must. Danny Ainge dealt a lot of the Celtics’ wing depth this summer in moves facilitating their ability to sign Gordon Hayward and trade for Kyrie Irving. The Celtics have more top-end talent than they did last year, but all of that falls apart if players like Brown can’t give them production off the bench.
Complex sat down with Brown to discuss all-things Celtics heading into the 2017-18 regular season, and while Brown had a lot of fascinating things to say, this nugget on his “welcome to the NBA” moment takes the cake.
“Here in New York in the Garden guarding Carmelo [Anthony] in our first preseason game,” Brown said. ‘The coaches didn’t give me no scouting report—I think they did this on purpose, they just said you’ve got Melo. I think they wanted to get my ass whooped a little bit. Which is good and humbling and you learn from it because it’s preseason. But at the same time, I think I learned from it. Even though I showed I wasn’t afraid or enamored or shocked, I was.
“It was like a movie,” Brown continued. “That was the first time I played at the Garden. The floor was lit perfectly. And Melo’s got the ball. He’s shooting it. He’s hitting you with the jab. I’ve seen it probably a million times and it’s like, damn, I’m in the motherf*cking league. I’m guarding Carmelo. You’ve got to do something. That was my welcome to league moment.”
It’s nice to know that young professional athletes are just like everybody else, and can still get a little starstruck from time-to-time. Can you imagine facing up against Anthony one-on-one? If you’re a lifelong baller like Brown who watched Melo throughout your childhood, it’s easy to understand why he was in awe, and he told the story beautifully.
(Via Complex Sports)