The NBA doesn’t need to name Jaylen Brown an All-Star for him to play like one.
The Boston Celtics swingman was instrumental to the success his team enjoyed last week as he helped the C’s defeat the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers in succession. The wins improved Boston’s record and its place in the latest NBA power rankings, and Brown claimed Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors following his snub from the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
The Celtics moved from No. 7 to No. 4 in NBA.com’s power rankings, earning the title of biggest movers in the (Monday-to-Monday) ranking period. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann praised the contributions Brown made during the absences of two of his more celebrated teammates.
“The Celtics were without one of their two All-Stars against both the Heat and Sixers last week, missing Jayson Tatum in Miami on Tuesday and Kemba Walker against Philly on Saturday,” Schuhmann wrote. “In both games, they played just eight guys (before Tacko Time, at least). But they still picked up two of their biggest wins of the season, holding the Heat and Sixers to exactly one point per possession combined.
“The league’s third-ranked defense wasn’t the only common factor in the two wins. Jaylen Brown also had two of his best games of the year, totaling 57 points on 23-for-39 shooting. He was 1-for-10 from 3-point range on Saturday, but 12-for-13 inside the arc. For the season, Brown has shot 48 percent on non-restricted area paint shots, the fourth best mark among players who have attempted at least 100, and he already has more makes in that range (57) than he did all of last season (51).
“With the two wins last week, the Celtics are 6-6 in games played between the top six teams in the East, and won’t play another until March 10. Their game in Oklahoma City on Sunday is the start of a stretch where they’re playing 10 of 12 against the Western Conference.”
ESPN boosted the Celtics from No. 8 to No. 6 in its NBA power rankings, and Bobby Marks highlighted Brown’s hot shooting hand, too.
“If Jaylen Brown wanted to prove why he deserves to be named an Eastern Conference All-Star alongside teammates Kemba Walker (starter) and Jayson Tatum (reserve), he did so in Saturday’s 116-95 win over Philadelphia,” Marks wrote. “Brown gave the Celtics a 32-point performance while Walker was out due to knee soreness. Brown averaged 25 points on 55.8 percent from the field in a 3-0 week for Boston. The Celtics’ bench also showed signs of life, as evidenced by the 15- and 11-point games from Brad Wanamaker and Semi Ojeleye, respectively, in the win over the 76ers.”
The Celtics kicked off this ranking period by beating the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Boston will host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and the Hawks on Friday. The Celtics then will conclude the power-ranking period Sunday afternoon when they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder.