In a dominating victory over the New York Knicks, the kids showed out. Sure it was against the Knicks, but we still have to talk about it. Jaylen Brown finished the game with a stat line of 23 points and four rebounds on 56% shooting from the field and 50% from three-point range, all on his 21st birthday. Jayson Tatum finished the game with 22 points and four rebounds on 60% shooting from the field and 67% from three. Jaylen (21) and Jayson (19) became the first Celtics’ duo under 22 years of age to score 20 points in the same game.
The fall of Gordon Hayward meant everybody had to step up, including the young guys. We are now four games into the season, and they haven’t disappointed yet. Jayson Tatum is averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6% from the field and 45.5% from three. Those stats are pretty damn good for a rookie, and they just so happen to be similar to a certain other Celtics legend’s stats to start his rookie season.
That’s right, Paul Pierce and Jayson Tatum have almost identical stats in the first four games of their NBA careers. We may be reaching to be comparing stats and players so early in the season, but it’s my job to brag when Jayson is performing at the same level as Paul Pierce when he was a rookie. How could you not be impressed with how the rookie has played so far this season? Yes, the season is still very early, but he’s doing a fantastic job filling in for Gordon Hayward. We knew Jaylen would probably start for the C’s this year and have a much more significant role than he did last season, but Jayson wasn’t expected to have as big of a role. He was the third pick in the draft, but injuries aside, I figured he would come off the bench to start the year and gain more playing time as the year went on. Since Marcus Morris got injured, Jayson started opening night. Since then, I think the rook has done enough to keep his starting spot for the time being.
Now on to Jaylen Brown. The now 21-year-old had himself quite a game on his birthday, which I mentioned above. But let’s talk about how well he’s been playing in four games this season. He’s scoring 18.8 points per game and grabbing 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6% from the field and 36.4% from three. At this point last season, Jaylen was only averaging 6.8 points per game and grabbing 1.5 rebounds per game. He shot okay from the field to start last season, and I won’t even mention his three-point shooting. He was afraid to shoot from deep, but as the season went on, he gained more confidence in his shot and was not scared to shoot the ball. Jaylen Brown is a gym rat and is showing off all the hard work he has put in during the offseason. The former third overall pick learned a lot his rookie season, and was put in a difficult situation with him being one of the only four Celtics coming back from last season. A lot was expected from him, and so far, he’s proved that he can handle that pressure.
Confidence is something Jaylen surely doesn’t lack. From last year to now, it’s incredible to see how much he has improved, matured, and developed such a good feel for the game. He’s worked hard and is finally letting the game come to him. When you begin your career in the NBA, everything seems like it’s moving at a million miles per hour. Now it looks like the game has slowed down for Jaylen and now he’s in the driver’s seat. He wants to be one of the best players in the NBA, and he isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the best of the best. He thrives under pressure and is ready for any challenge that comes his way. I’m sure Jaylen had a fun night celebrating after the game and got to finally taste his first sip of alcohol. Or he played some chess and read a book. Yeah, that’s probably what happened.
People might be saying that Celtics’ fans are overreacting to Jayson and Jaylen’s success early on in the season, but answer this question: wouldn’t you too? After a promising rookie campaign, Jaylen Brown is starting to show out and prove that he’s worth the hype. After trading the number one pick and passing on Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum has to prove that the Celtics won that trade and he was worth trading down for. As of right now, I think Boston got the upper hand of that trade. Time will tell, but now the Celtics are in the lead.
It’s not like the Celtics have played bad teams, either. The kids are putting up these numbers against teams that are all at least playoff contenders, excluding the Knicks. The 76ers will be competing for a playoff spot, the Bucks will be contending to be a top-4 seed in the Eastern Conference, and the Cavs are still the top team in the East. I’m curious to see how they’ll perform against Western Conference teams like Golden State, San Antonio, OKC, and Houston. That’s when the kids will be put to the test. But if the first four games are telling us anything, it’s that they’ll be ready to go up against the best of the best.
Rejoice Celtics’ fans. We have our future, and the future is now. Jaylen and Jayson will lead us to multiple banners in the future, but also will keep the Celtics competitive and title contenders now. It’ll be tough with Gordon Hayward gone, but just wait till he gets back. He’s got to be more than impressed with their performances without him. They have the trust of Coach Stevens and players in the locker room. Kyrie Irving said after the game that he’s their biggest fan, and is impressed with how they’ve performed early on in the season.
The kids are worth the hype, and I’m anxious to see where they go from here. Spoiler alert: they can only go up. That’s a scary thought for the rest of the league, but puts a smile on my face every time I think about it.