Anybody who talks basketball with me knows that Kawhi Leonard is one of my favorite players in the NBA. The dude is an absolute beast on both ends of the court and has lead the Spurs to the second best record in the NBA. Over the last two years he has solidified himself as a superstar in the NBA and a force for years to come. As a Celtics fan, I see this same potential in Jaylen Brown.
People forget that Kawhi was never expected to be a superstar in the NBA. After two good but unspectacular years at San Diego State University he entered the NBA draft and was selected 15th overall by the Pacers and was traded to the Spurs for George Hill. NBADraft.net had a lot of the same concerns about Kawhi as they did with Jaylen: trouble ball handing, inconsistent jump shot, and settles for too many jump shots. His rookie season he averaged 7.9 ppg and 5.1 rpg on 24 mpg while shooting .493 from the field and .376 from 3. Jaylen’s rookie season so far has shown 6.6 ppg and 2.9 rpg on 17.1 mpg and .460 from the field. Kawhi showed great improvement every season on his way to being a superstar thanks to great work ethic and the fact that he may or may not be half robot. Jaylen has already shown great improvement and his rookie season hasn’t even ended yet.
One of the biggest concerns regarding Jaylen heading into the season was his inability to shoot. This concern was justified, for he shot .293 from 3 through the first 50 games of the season. However, since then (23 games) he has shot .404 from the 3, and has became a legitimate threat from corner off the kick out. He has also his improved his already solid defense and has been more confident and aggressive with the ball. He has been able to improve so much with his unrelenting work ethic, which he takes a lot of pride in. During the NBA draft combine, he claimed he wanted his work ethic to emulate Kobe’s, saying “They say Kobe Bryant wakes up at 5:30 every morning. So I’m trying to do the same thing to catch up to him. If that’s what it takes to be him, then I’ll try to do that, too.”
Jaylen’s attitude is certainly in the right place to become as great as a player like Kawhi, but he still as a long way to go. He needs to work on taking care of the ball and he doesn’t have the skill set to be an important piece of an offense. I guess only time will tell what Jaylen will turn into, but I’m excited for the future of this player and this team. Maybe one day this meme will be a “so true” meme rather than a “ha ha” meme.