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Saturday, 17 June 2017 16:58

Jaylen Brown Resistant to Pressure, Ready for an Expanded Role Next Season With Boston Celtics

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Jaylen Brown went through the normal grind of an NBA season, yet unlike most rookies, he earned playoff reps and had the opportunity to play in some meaningful games. He's now prepared to take on more.

Wyc Grousbeck promised “fireworks” for the Boston Celtics leading up to the 2016 NBA draft – a position that unfortunately put a number of people in the spotlight of Celtics Nation – including Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Jaylen Brown (the player the Celtics “settled on”), and of course, Grousbeck himself.

With expectations raised and dream scenarios playing out in everyone’s heads, Grousbeck was showered with boos from season ticket holders. According to Grousbeck himself, it was the worst reception he had received in 14 years with the Celtics.

Danny Ainge has willfully taken all heat thrown at him since assuming his present role of president of basketball operations in 2003. This is a man who fought 7’1 Tree Rollins, and who tried fighting Michael Jordan, and lived to tell about it.

Brad Stevens is averse to pressure.

Listen to CLNS’ Mike Walsh discuss Jaylen Brown’s pre-college hoop trip to Australia with Steve Blackley

If anyone was going to feel the pressure of the relentless Boston media, of a fan base as passionate and as diehard as they come, it would have fallen on the shoulders of the 19-year-old from Marietta, GA.

It would become evident early on that Brown had the chops to succeed at the next level.

“I'm overly confident. I believe in myself 100-percent," Brown said during his introductory press conference in June 2016. "I believe in my game and I believe in my work ethic. I don't [think] anybody works as hard as me, especially not in this draft class. I'm going to go out and show what I can do.

"Rome wasn't built in a day. It'll take time. You'll see."

Brown – like a rookie on a contending team is supposed to – saw his playing time fluctuate considerably throughout the season; from a season-low 3:53 in a December win against Sacramento, to an early season showcase against the King himself with 19 points in a November loss to the Cavs.

(Speaking of LeBron James, Brown wasn’t afraid of him, either.)

For Celtics fans, the audible ‘Jaylen’ calls from Stevens could be heard clearly throughout the TV broadcasts throughout the season.

Stevens is tough on rookies, in a different way than his predecessor in Boston, Doc Rivers, but the young coach – along with Ainge – have made it clear that mistakes need to be accounted for.

“If you’re not playing hard, you’re not playing,” Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “And when you make mistakes, you come out of the game and you’ve got to know what you’re supposed to be doing, and you’re held to the same standards as veteran players.”   

Some rookies drafted high dictate where they’d like to get chosen in the draft, while others expect to be handed playing time upon entrance into the world’s greatest basketball league.

Brown liked that he had to earn his minutes.

“I had to fight for everything I got,” Brown said. “I had to earn every minute, earn every possession, and I liked it like that.”

The competitive nature is overly evident with Brown. He went hard at No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram in both meetings with the Lakers this season – including an early March showcase at the Staples Center.

When last year’s top pick Ben Simmons finally suits up for the Sixers this season, I fully expect Brown to try and rip his head off.

Amidst the hoopla revolving around the No. 1 pick this season, Brown has already shifted his focus towards next season.

Ainge struck gold last season with the third pick; will this year net the same results?

Cory Prescott

Cory Prescott is the Editor at Large for Boston Celtics coverage on CLNS Radio. 

Cory is a graduate of Susquehanna University, graduating with a degree in Communications - Journalism.  While at Susquehanna, Cory spent three years as the sports editor for the school's weekly newspaper.  He also worked for the Crusaders Athletics Communications Department.

Following graduation, Cory spent time writing for the Maine Hockey Journal, as well as Boston Sports Then & Now, in addition to his own blog, Brain Freeze.

A native Mainer, Cory has been residing in Boston for the past few years.

Follow Cory on twitter @CLNS_Prescott.