Celtics Talk Podcast: Is Jaylen the NBA’s most improved player? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Jaylen Brown continues to show out for the Boston Celtics in Year 5 of his NBA career.
The 24-year-old has been on a mission so far in the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 27.3 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting nearly 53 percent from the field through 16 games. Some pundits even have Brown in the MVP conversation after he put up 33 points in 19 minutes in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. After missing the All-Star Game last season, he looks like a lock to be an All-Star this time around.
The more realistic end-of-season accolade for Brown is the Most Improved Player award. PointsBet Sportsbook has him listed with the fourth-best odds of winning the award at +2000. He trails only Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood (+115), Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (+275), and Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher (+1000).
Forsberg: Brown’s emergence coinciding with Smart’s playmaking
What should we make of Brown’s hot start and his Most Improved Player chances? Chris Forsberg and Rob Snyder discussed on a brand new Celtics Talk Podcast.
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“In my opinion, this should be a two-horse race between Jaylen Brown and Collin Sexton,” Snyder said. “The problem is both of them were really good last year. Both of them averaged 20 a game last year so people look at him as ‘Well, their improvement level isn’t massive’ because they’re looking at scoring. But Brown and Sexton both are shooting the lights out. …
“The two of them are probably the two actual most improved players, but Christian Wood’s numbers are so much better than last year, but part of that is he’s playing like 14 more minutes per game than he did last year. So what happens sometimes with Most Improved is it just goes to the guy that’s finally getting the opportunity.”
While Brown was still a rock-solid player last year and that could prevent him from earning the award, Forsberg notes his shooting and playmaking have come a long way.
“If you just took it and said, what player has added the most to their game in recent years — and Jaylen is weird because he was sort of starting this outbreak in the bubble, but you wouldn’t throw him in the MIP category last year. This year, his playmaking, his vision, you said it. If Jaylen Brown goes up with a shot now, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s going in.’ And two years ago I did not feel that way.”
Also discussed in the new episode: Who has proven to be the Celtics’ most important player? Which part of the roster needs shoring up by Danny Ainge to contend for an NBA title? Forsberg is joined by Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman, and Brian Scalabrine recalls one of his memories about Kobe Bryant in this teaser for “Sports Uncovered: My favorite Kobe story,” a podcast by NBC Sports.
Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.
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