I consulted my Magic 8 ball five days ago when it was rumored that Jalyen Brown of the Boston Celtics turned down a 4-year and $80 million dollar contract. I asked, "Will Jaylen be a Boston Celtic next year?" The omnipotent sphere acknowledged, "Outlook not so good."
If I am being realistic at the time, I mean, why would you pay someone $20 million dollars a year for a guy who only started 33.7 percent of the games last year and shoots 65.8% from the charity stripe and averages 11.2 points per game over his 3-year career. These don't scream break the bank.Jaylen turned down $20 million a year. I’m not sure that’s going to be out there for him next year.— bleedcelticgreen (@bleedcelticgrn) October 17, 2019
You can only imagine my surprise when he signed a 4-year deal for $115 million, averaging $28.75 million a year. If I am paying someone $28 million per year, I would at least hope for a double/double, even if its 10/10 every night.
I suppose one could say Jaylen has great upside. He is athletic, intelligent, plays above average defense, is a team player and he was the 3rd pick over all in the 2015 draft. All true. He has had moments of brilliance on the court. I wrote a few years back about his above average defense against one of the best to lace them up, using a tweet from the great Max Lederman:
LeBron James vs C's this season— Max Lederman (@Max_Lederman) May 17, 2017
With Jaylen Brown on court:
-2.3 Net Rating, 50.0 eFG%
With Brown on bench:
+21.6 Net Rating, 64.3 eFG% pic.twitter.com/G3Mw556x8U
I should emphasis, I like Jaylen Brown, I like him a lot, but I am having a hard time grouping him into a player based on his experience, getting what is an equivalent to a max contract. Players with 0-6 years of experience can earn a max contract worth 25 percent of the salary cap.
When I think Max contract, I think elite, established players such as Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, James Harden and even ahem, Kyrie Irving. Jaylen Brown doesn't even break the Top 20.
Okay, let's be a little more optimistic. Last year, as the season was winding down and the drama was elevating to all-time highs, Jalylen had a handful of 20+ point games, 14 for the season and he has shown an upward trajectory each year.
I do think Jayson Tatum and Brown could make up a dynamic duo. You add Kemba Walker, the tenacious Marcus Smart and the young guns and you could make a something of a run the next couple of years in the East.
And look at this way, the top Unrestricted free agents to be next year: Paul Millsap, Hassan Whiteside, Chandler Parsons, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka all 31 or older.
Jaylen has them in upside, age and starts to look a little bit more like a bargain.
I know the money is ridiculous in the NBA now, I need to get past it. But my expectations will be high for the kid from Marietta Georgia and I will be rooting he proves he's worth ever penny. Clearly, Danny Ainge believes so.
I shook the Magic 8 ball one more time and asked, "Will this be Jaylen's Break out year?"
The answer, "Better Not Tell you Now."
It was wrong once this week, let's hope its wrong again.