Jaylen Brown’s Injury Closes the Celtics Title Runby John Devereaux May 12, 2021 0 comments
Early this week the Boston Celtics had announced that all-star guard Jaylen Brown will miss the remainder of the 2020-2021 NBA season. Brown tore a ligament in his left wrist and will need surgery thus ending his breakout season.
Jaylen’s Career Season
Before the injury was announced to the public, Brown had already missed three games due to soreness in his knee. Although Brown had missed some time this season with various smaller injuries, he still managed to play 58 games. The 24-year-old guard made his first all-star appearance this season, and if stayed healthy could have been considered for the all-NBA team. In these 58 games, Brown averaged 24.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. While also shooting 48 percent from the field and 39 percent from three.
With Brown now out for the remainder of the season, the Boston Celtics now see themselves in a dire predicament. The team had been struggling all season long, going on losing streaks and playing down to their weaker competition. The team’s bench is awful this season, with most of the bench riddled with young talent that still needs to develop. Brown was a bright spot on this Celtics roster. Having a career season, and being the most consistent player during the season.
Titles Hopes Destroyed
Boston will struggle heavily in the playoffs without Brown. As the guard was their primary defender and the second-best scorer on the team. In a league where it takes a minimum of two superstars to win a title, the Celtics are now without one of them. The team will have to rely on incredible stretches from Jayson Tatum. Tatum has been having arguably an all-NBA caliber season. Although with that said, Tatum can be streaky at times. He can have games where he shoots abysmal from three, and will never attack the basket.
The forward should be able to keep the Celtics in most games depending on the team that they face in the playoffs. It is very likely that Boston will have to play in the ‘play-in’ game. As they currently sit at the seventh seed, three games behind the New York Knicks. For the team to grab the sixth seed and avoid the play-in games, they will have to win out the remainder of the season. The Knicks would also have to lose three of their last four games.
Even if Brown were healthy for these last games, it seems unlikely that the Celtics could end the season on a winning streak. The team has been streaky all season and is on the losing end of the streak during this time. As they have lost back-to-back crucial games to the Miami Heat.
The Boston Celtics will have to face the eighth seed in the play-in game. As it stands it could either be the Charlotte Hornets or the Indiana Pacers. Against the Hornets, the team is 1-1 on the season. For Indiana, the team won the season series 2-1. It is very worrisome though, due to the fact that each game the Celtics won against these two franchises were all within a ten-point game.
Indiana is dealing with injuries and would be the more favorable matchup for Boston. Especially without Brown, Indiana does not have a superstar that can take over the game. Brown’s absence would not be missed defensively in that game. Charlotte on the other hand has rookie sensation LaMelo Ball and breakout player Terry Rozier. Both players at any given game could drop 40 points. Missing Brown in this game could result in the team losing and having to play again in another play-in game for the eighth seed.
Losing would cause a great problem for Boston. The team would then have to face either Charlotte, Indiana or the Washington Wizards. The Wizards have been surging since regaining most of their injured players back. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook have proven to be difficult to defend, as the Celtics barely won games against them. Without Brown, Tatum would not only have to match Beal’s offensive output but would also have to defend Beal or Westbrook. That is a tall task to ask from one player.
First Round of the Playoffs
If the Celtics manage to win their first play-in game and lock down the seventh seed, then the team would have to face either the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets. The Brooklyn Nets would sweep the Celtics. Even with Brown in the lineup, the Nets would just outscore the Celtics every game. The Celtics already struggle on offense, and without their second-best scorer, the team would not be able to match the three-headed scoring monsters in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden.
Milwaukee on the other hand would be Boston’s best chance to make it out the first round. Even without Brown, the Celtics do have players that can guard Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams have shown that they can slow down the Greek Freak. If the Celtics could get both Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to have good shooting performances in the series the team could upset the Bucks.
In the end, the Boston Celtics have a very tough road in the playoffs. Missing Brown during this crucial part of the NBA season really hurts the Celtics. The expectation going into the season was to contend for the NBA title. But after a streaky season, and now with arguably the best player on the roster out for the season the team finds themselves in a grave situation heading into the playoffs.