Jaylen Brown is not just an All-Star – he’s a frontrunner for Most Improved Player

Jaylen Brown vs Cavs
Jaylen Brown is having a spectacular season. Photo from Milford Daily News.
  • Jaylen Brown is on course for his first All-Star selection
  • Few can rival Brown for Most Improved Player
  • Is the Celtics star taking the leap?

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown is having a career year. Brown scored 33 points in 19 minutes in Boston’s Sunday win, the highest-scoring game of any player to play fewer than 20 minutes.

With Kemba Walker missing the start of the season and still working his way back, with Gordon Hayward in Charlotte and with Jayson Tatum missing several games after a positive COVID-19 test, Brown has led the way for these Boston Celtics. The former third overall pick has been phenomenal.

He’s gone over 30 points five times this season, a feat he’d only achieved eight times in his career before 2020/21. Brown’s getting to the line more. He’s assisting more. His scoring has increased by seven points from last season. This is all while keeping up his usual sky-high defensive standards. An All-Star berth is all-but guaranteed at this stage. Only a couple can rival him for Most Improved Player.

It’s too early to really speculate about award winners (though that didn’t stop us putting together some MVP rankings). What Brown is doing, though, is huge for Boston. Their championship credentials in the seasons to come are dependent on this growth being real. His playmaking, as much as his array of shot-making, is promising for the Celtics.

Brown has been guilty of tunnel-vision in the past. In part, that was down to his role in the offense as a shooter and cutter. He was rarely required to initiate, but that has changed with no Walker or Hayward. Throughout his career, Brown has been around 1:1 on assist to turnover ratio. Players will often see that ratio worsen when their usage increases – it has been the opposite for Brown.

His usage has soared to 31.6% from a previous career-high of 24.7% last season. He’s assisting 3.5 times per game, up from 2.1 in 2019/20. While the former California wing is still turning it over more than Brad Stevens would like at 2.7, it’s a sign of progress.

Brown is 48th percentile in turnover rate (he was 39th percentile last season). He’s 92nd percentile in assist rate, up from 45th last season. The improvement across the board is remarkable.

The stepback threes and thunderous dunks warrant viral Twitter videos. Just watching Brown, though, it’s clear this is a greater improvement than red-hot scoring. The numbers confirm the eye test. Brown, if he keeps this up, should be a lock for the All-Star team, and only a handful of players can stand in his way in the race to win Most Improved Player.


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About Sam Cox 651 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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