Celtics three goals: Jaylen Brown must rediscover his defensive edge

The Boston Celtics have been busy this summer. Brad Stevens struck a franchise-altering trade that saw Marcus Smart head to the Memphis Grizzlies, with Kristaps Porzingis heading to the Celtics. Despite the flurry of moves earlier in the off-season, the news cycle always grinds to a halt at this time of the year.

As such, now is the perfect time to begin looking at potential goals for each member of the Celtics roster. To begin this series, we will start by looking at Jaylen Brown. The All-NBA wing signed a “Supermax” contract this summer and will enter the new season with significant expectations on his shoulders.

Brown had a solid 2022-23 season. He made his second All-Star appearance and was named to an All-NBA second team. With another star player to lean on, Brown could be poised for a big year as he bids to help the Celtics finally get over the hump and win “Banner 18.”

Here are three goals for Brown ahead of the new season:

Improve his shooting off the catch

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Brown is an elite rim threat. The explosive wing is at his best when running the court or attacking off the rip-through in half-court sets. Brown can also cook teams from the mid-range, especially when stopping and popping off the dribble.

However, now the Celtics have added Porzingis, Brown’s touches may take a slight dip. As such, the veteran wing may want to work on his catch-and-shoot ability. Last season, Brown shot 33.7% off the catch despite taking 4.8 attempts per game. In fairness, that shooting percentage was slightly down from the 2021-22 season, where Brown converted 38.6% of his shots off the catch on 4.8 attempts per game.

Regardless, Brown has struggled to convert his looks when letting it fly directly off the catch. Yet, with Joe Mazzulla‘s analytical approach to the game, Brown will be expected to convert on his open shot attempts – most of which will come via catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Stay locked in on defense

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brown was viewed as a potential lock-down defender earlier in his career due to his size, length, and athleticism. However, the Georgia native has developed a habit of losing track of his man – especially when being back-cut. Brown has also gotten lost in switching systems at times.

Despite his recent defensive struggles, Brown still has all the attributes to become an exceptional perimeter defender, especially in isolation situations. Brown ended last season with a +1 estimated plus/minus on the defensive end, so it’s clear that the potential to take another leap is there; it’s just about staying locked in.

Take care of the ball

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past four years, Brown has averaged 11 turnovers per 100 possessions. The All-NBA wing has 1,054 career assists and 949 career turnovers. Considering how the Celtics have tried to develop Brown as a secondary playmaker, his near 1:1 turnover-to-assist ratio is concerning.

If Brown can improve his handle and learn to take care of the ball, he will become an offensive force in the upcoming season, especially if Mazzulla empowers him to operate as a playmaker for multiple possessions per game.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire