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NBA Keeper/Dynasty: Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics

Ever since the signing of coach Brad Stevens prior to the 2013 season, the Boston Celtics have adopted a style of play that has been quite the deviation from their days of transcendent superstars like Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett just to name a few, leading their teams to championships. Surprising almost everyone, Stevens took his Celtics team from a first year win percentage of 30.5% (2013-2014) to 58.5% (2015-2016) during his stint as coach. To amplify the success he's had, note that only one player during this stretch received an All-star nod, and that was Isaiah Thomas. Credit is due not only to coach Stevens, but also to General manager Danny Ainge who has relentlessly fleeced poor teams like the Brooklyn Nets for a litany of lottery picks and trade chips whom have turned out to be useful assets in Boston's rotation.

So how exactly has this GM-Coach tandem kept a historical franchise afloat even with a dearth of a quality go-to player? The answer is somewhat convoluted, but can be broken down into a couple broad tenants: selflessness and defensive effort. While a lot goes into those two factors like the X's and O's, positioning, scouting, etc, let's stick to some tangible factors that can help explain the direction Boston seems to be veering its future in.

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Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics

Current Celtics players and favorites of coach Stevens like Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, and Jae Crowder all have common components to their game. Other than the diminutive Thomas, who still plays above his size, they are all above average defenders.  As a team, they show tenacity and a relentless approach on defense that ends up overwhelming opponents for a full 48-minute stretch. They are also all extremely hard workers who have bought into Steven' system to continually improve all facets of their game. Jae Crowder is a prime example of this, going from 0.8 3PM, and 0.8 SPG in his rookie year to 1.7 3PM, and 1.7 SPG to his 2015-2016 campaign. The same can be said for other rotational players in the Celtics lineup: most of them have found a connection with coach Stevens that motivates and allows them to improve important facets of their game which in turn end up plugging the cracks left from not having a superstar caliber player.

Many analysts were surprised when Boston took forward Jaylen Brown out of the University of California with the third overall pick, but after looking back to the recent philosophy that has been implemented in Boston, the selection starts to make more and more sense. As far as measurables go Brown, is sitting at 223 lbs with a height of 6' 7", and an almost 7-ft wingspan. Physically, he has all the tools to be a competent combo forward in the NBA who could end up being able to guard four positions on the floor. As an above average athlete Brown profiles to be a top notch defender, using his speed and footwork to stay in front of defenders, while his length will disrupt passing lanes, and translate into many stocks (STL + BLK).

As a one and done freshman in the Pac-12 division, Brown was able to put up averages of 14.6 PPG, 0.9 3PM, 5.4 RPG, 2.0 AST, with 0.8 SPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 43.1% from the field. Those numbers don't scream top-3 pick in the NBA draft but his raw intangibles can lend themselves to expand in the association and turn him into an ultra athletic wing who can play both ends of the floor. While his offensive game will obviously need to develop Brown has a Paul George-esque ceiling in terms of fantasy production; his defensive tool-box should allow him to guard the oppositions best non-big on the perimeter, and if his game on the other end of the floor can expand into a reliable jump shot then he will be a future three-and-D player we place in high regard such as the aforementioned Paul George, or others such as Jimmy Butler, and to a lesser extent Kawhi Leonard.

His rookie and sophomore draft classmates like Brandon Ingram, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson have the ability to become talented players on each spectrum (Ingram on offense, Hollis-Jefferson on defense) but Brown is the unique example who has already shown flashes of being able to excel in both aspects of the game. Brown's rookie per-36 numbers through the first seven games of the season elaborate a bit on his early pro style skill-set; 14.3 PPG, 1.1 3PM, 4.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.1 BPG, while shooting 46.7% from the field. With minutes it is evident that even in his rookie year Brown is capable of putting up low-grade fantasy production.

It's highly unlikely that Brown will fizzle out of the NBA and become a lottery bust, but it also isn't a given that he will develop an expanded offensive arsenal at any point in his career to warrant being called a two-way player. With that being said, Brown has all the pieces in front of him to make a name for himself. He has joined a historic franchise with a well respected coach,he has veterans to learn from, he already possesses an NBA ready defensive skill-set, and he has a great deal of athletic ability which, if used to his advantage, can boost his offensive output. We have already seen how well modern two way players excel in today's NBA, and Brown is brimming with potential hoping to be regarded as an elite player during his career.

By popular demand, RotoBaller has aggregated all of our fantasy basketball NBA waiver wire pickups into a running list of NBA waiver options, so bookmark the page and check back often for updates.

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