Jaylen Brown - underrated?

Koufax

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,274
Watching Jaylen Brown play, I find myself saying, "Meh". Athletic yes, but does he really contribute? Having very little sense of how rookies are supposed to fit into the NBA these days, I did a little research using statistics I frankly don't understand and that are probably ill-suited to the task. Blundering about I settled on Hollinger's Valued Added statistic and, for those member of the draft class of 2016 who have enough playing time to event show up on those stats, found that the 2016 draft class ranks as follows:

Hernangomea, Juan - VA = 10.8 (on only 9.9 mpg) (draft rank 15)
Hield - VA = 1.3 (draft rank 6)
LeVert - VA = -.7 (20)
Siakam - VA = -5.1 (27)
Brown - VA = -5.9 (3)
Murray - VA = -5.9 (7)
Luwawu-Caborrot - VA = -15.2 (24)
Chriss - VA = -17.4 (8)
Baldwin - VA = -17.7 (17)
Valentine - VA = -21.1 (14)
Dunn - VA = -27.1 (5)
Sabonis - VA = -47.8 (11)
Ingram - VA = -51.4 (2)

These figures seem to show that Mr. Brown is doing pretty well, but not 3d best, as one would hope for a #3 draft pick; and this doesn't account for Ben Simmons.

Clearly it is early to judge, but do you folks who, unlike me, watch non-Celtics games, think that this is a decent ranking of the 2016 draft class to date? Is Ingram really that big a disappointment? Is Brown better than some the players ranked above him?
 

NoXInNixon

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 24, 2008
4,019
Who is rating Jaylen Brown as anything at this point? No one thought he was a polished player ready to contribute meaningful minutes right away. He has shown flashes of elite athleticism. The Celtics have the luxury of letting him gain experience slowly while coming off the bench until he fills out a little bit. His ceiling is very high.
 

Blacken

Robespierre in a Cape
SoSH Member
Jul 24, 2007
12,113
Trying to even figure out what Brown's ceiling might be, right now, is a sucker's bet. None of these players are getting representative minutes and at least half of them will be completely different players (not necessarily better, but different) in three years.
 

slamminsammya

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,837
Palo Alto
I agree that it is way too early to draw any big conclusions about this class. There are two things that are obvious about his game right now:

1) He is generally lost on the defensive end

2) He is not a good ball handler.

These dont hugely concern me, as both can be improved. I think the defense will come with experience, as he certainly has the athleticism and size to be at least average. And we have seen lots of players bring up their ball handling skills. Avery Bradley sticks out as a good example. His first year everyone on this board was freaking out because he could barely bring the ball up the court.
 

Devizier

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 3, 2000
9,693
Somewhere
You could use basketball-reference and find that there are three rookies (barely) performing above replacement level this year.

That could mean that this was a historically weak draft (quite possible). However, before you can draw that conclusion, you have to accept the fact that we're talking about a draft with relatively young, raw talent at the top. Not everyone plays in their teens like Lebron James...
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
21,329
Melrose, MA
I agree that it is way too early to draw any big conclusions about this class. There are two things that are obvious about his game right now:

1) He is generally lost on the defensive end

2) He is not a good ball handler.

These dont hugely concern me, as both can be improved. I think the defense will come with experience, as he certainly has the athleticism and size to be at least average. And we have seen lots of players bring up their ball handling skills. Avery Bradley sticks out as a good example. His first year everyone on this board was freaking out because he could barely bring the ball up the court.
That was even true in Bradley's fourth year.

On the plus side for Brown, he is terrific in transition, not just in scoring but also in attacking the rim without picking up an offensive foul and in making the right play (even if it is a pass). Already a better transition player than Antoine Walker ever was (though that is damnation by faint praise). He's going to be a frigging beast in summer league next year.
 

cardiacs

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,109
Stamford, CT
It's too early but he is fine and pretty much what I expected. He doesn't make too many stupid mistakes when running plays or on team defense but I have noticed he has overcommitted a few times on doubleteams and lost his guy. I don't regret the pick at all especially because there is no one else that has turned out markedly better that was picked after him. I think Hield is the only guy that might have been on our radar that has done well, but he is being asked to carry a larger role in a different system. I wouldn't want Hield on this year's Celtics, all things considered.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
7,411
The draft was widely touted as a 2-man draft. The C's arguably picked the most skilled player of the Bender/Dunn/Heild/Brown bunch with the highest upside but also the most raw. When Brown was drafted, the general consensus of this board and most of the media talking heads was that if Brown got minutes anywhere the first half of the season, it would be with the Red Claws. Instead, he's averaging 13 minutes per game and has solidified his spot in the backside of the 2nd unit. Not sure we should have expected anything more from him so far.
 

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
3,879
You could use basketball-reference and find that there are three rookies (barely) performing above replacement level this year.
And of those, Siakam is nearly 23 and Brogdon is 24. Age matters.

Brown's warts going into the draft are still apparent, but for a pick I was pretty down on based off of his college play, I'm fairly encouraged by what I've seen so far. It's hard for such a young guy to earn minutes on a play-off team, but he's been doing it bit by bit and I have seen some progress. NBA development takes time, especially for one-and-doners.
 

Koufax

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,274
Yes, age matters a lot. I was surprised, going through the Hollinger stats for rookies, how many 26 and 27 year-olds qualify as rookies. For some guys, the route to the NBA is not a straight line.

I missed Brogdon because I was only looking at first round picks.
 
Oct 31, 2013
6
Portland ME

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
3,879
I was wondering how Hield could have a positive rating given his atrocious opponents points-per-possession and defensive rate stats, so I looked at Value Added, and found that it's just a function of PER and minutes, adjusted for positional replacement level. So it doesn't really factor in defense at all, and doesn't adequately penalize inefficient gunners. I don't think that list even tells us much about "value added" so far, and it sure as shit doesn't predict much going forward.
 

Jed Zeppelin

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 23, 2008
34,981
All I ask is that Jaylen be healthy this summer. Year 1 to Year 2 is huge, and there just isn't enough practice time during the season to work on individual skills. Just ask Jared Sullinger what happens when you spend your summers rehabbing.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
31,161
Tough for someone his age to be thrown right into the fire. I think he has handled it pretty well and I am hopeful that his next couple of seasons show some real improvement. The Jimmy Butler trajectory isn't super common but Brown has the right combination of attitude and skills to pull it off.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
17,825
All I ask is that Jaylen be healthy this summer. Year 1 to Year 2 is huge, and there just isn't enough practice time during the season to work on individual skills. Just ask Jared Sullinger what happens when you spend your summers rehabbing.
Very important point here. You can also look to Olynyk as an example this season about how important the offseason is even for non-rookies. It's now mid-January and he's just beginning to get into his comfort zone.
 

cheech13

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 5, 2006
1,266
To be overrated you have to be rated. Brown is nothing more than a lump of clay.
 

bowiac

I've been living a lie.
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
12,306
New York, NY
This is a strange post. Is anyone rating him highly yet? He's a rookie. They all stink, and the ones that don't are either completely transcendent talents, or 22+ years old.

I hated the Brown pick, but so far, it's not like anyone picked after him is clearly better. If anything, he's over-performed expectations.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
16,545
If you look at winshares, it's Brogdan, Siakam (who isn't playing as much anymore from what I understand), and everyone else: http://www.basketball-reference.com/draft/NBA_2016.html.

As for defense, everyone knows that he's going to make mistakes given how complicated NBA rotations are, but to my eye, he's showing that he can hold his own when guarding someone 1 on 1.

It seems to me that Brown has shown that his floor will be more than a 3 & D guy, which is higher than it was at the start of the season.

Chriss is one guy I'm sure DA was considering instead of Brown (from what I've seen, Bender wasn't really on DA's list because of his body). However, it's disconcerting I'm sure to Suns fans that Chriss had 25 games of 3 or more fouls even though he's only averaging 22 minutes per game.
 

Big John

lurker
Dec 9, 2016
1,660
I would have taken Bender, who is starting to play a little better and who turned 19 two months ago. But Brown has been OK-- I though he played reasonably well against Charlotte on Monday..

His defense on the ball has been pretty good. He just can't shoot-- yet. If and when he develops a reliable outside shot, he will be fine.
 

Sliceboy

lurker
Aug 19, 2016
21
It's really early to say 'overrated' or not on J. Brown; a reminder that Chauncey Billups, a former # 3 pick, had a great career after being ushered out of town.

One thing that was not overrated was the Jaylen Brown pre-game speech to the crowd on MLK day. To recite MLK quotes from memory to a full house & TV camera crew was most impressive. Not sure if others noticed but at the end of the speech when going to the bench Jae C. was all pumped up for the J. Brown MLK effort. Even Mike Gorman, the velvet fog of Boston, gave him a 'Well done, Jaylen!'.
 

southshoresoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
5,249
Canton MA
I would have taken Bender, who is starting to play a little better and who turned 19 two months ago. But Brown has been OK-- I though he played reasonably well against Charlotte on Monday..

His defense on the ball has been pretty good. He just can't shoot-- yet. If and when he develops a reliable outside shot, he will be fine.
If Jaylen develops an outside shot he will be a lot more than fine.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
21,329
Melrose, MA
Thus far, I'm encouraged by Jaylen because he has showed signs of being able to put his athleticism to work on the court.

He is pretty effective on the fast break, can usually get to the hoop without committing an offensive foul, sometimes flashes a Eurostep even, showing a soft touch around the bucket (in marked contrast to summer league), knows when to pass and can do it effectively.

Also, he seems to hit just enough jumpers to suggest that he has potential for improvement there.

I think there was legitimate reason to doubt those things based on his college experience, so it is great to see him using the athleticism productively at least some of the time.
 

maufman

Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Gold Supporter
The draft was widely touted as a 2-man draft. The C's arguably picked the most skilled player of the Bender/Dunn/Heild/Brown bunch with the highest upside but also the most raw. When Brown was drafted, the general consensus of this board and most of the media talking heads was that if Brown got minutes anywhere the first half of the season, it would be with the Red Claws. Instead, he's averaging 13 minutes per game and has solidified his spot in the backside of the 2nd unit. Not sure we should have expected anything more from him so far.
This is where I'm at. The Brown pick looks good right now, but that's mainly because Hield and (especially) Dunn haven't looked nearly as polished as expected.


Side comment: Why does anyone still use PER? Its like the RBI of basketball stats.
A good metric succinctly describes what it measures, so the conversation can focus on what isn't measured. PER does a decent job summing up what's in the box score -- it's certainly a better stat in that regard than WAR in baseball or QB rating in football. Obviously, there's a lot of important stuff that doesn't show up in the box score, but PER doesn't pretend to measure that stuff.


I was wondering how Hield could have a positive rating given his atrocious opponents points-per-possession and defensive rate stats, so I looked at Value Added, and found that it's just a function of PER and minutes, adjusted for positional replacement level. So it doesn't really factor in defense at all, and doesn't adequately penalize inefficient gunners. I don't think that list even tells us much about "value added" so far, and it sure as shit doesn't predict much going forward.
It tells us a bit about the older guys -- Dunn is likely a bust, and Hield isn't the plug-and-play guy a lot of us thought he would be. It doesn't tell us much about the 19-year olds (except that none of them are D-Rose or Anthony Davis, but we already knew that).
 

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
3,879
It tells us a bit about the older guys -- Dunn is likely a bust, and Hield isn't the plug-and-play guy a lot of us thought he would be.
But basically does say that Hield's a plug-and-play guy, and this illustrates one of the main problems with Hollinger's "Value Added". Buddy is second on the list mainly because PER increases with each shot attempt as long as a player is shooting above 21.4% from three, and 30% from two. Buddy's TS% is 50.4%, which is middle of the pack for rookies, but bottom third for the league average. But while he's not an efficient scorer, he is above that absurd threshold where PER increases with FGAs. Of course, he leads all rookies in FGAs, and that's the primary reason he is one of only two rookies with a positive "Value Added".

Dunn, to no one's surprise, is shooting terribly (27.8% 3P; 40% 2P) in a limited sample (though even he would up his PER and thus his "VA" if he kept shooting horribly), but has been good on defense, at least measured by defensive box plus/minus, where he's fourth among rookies behind minutes-limited bigs Bolomby, Onuaku and Deyonte Davis.
 

maufman

Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Gold Supporter
But basically does say that Hield's a plug-and-play guy, and this illustrates one of the main problems with Hollinger's "Value Added". Buddy is second on the list mainly because PER increases with each shot attempt as long as a player is shooting above 21.4% from three, and 30% from two. Buddy's TS% is 50.4%, which is middle of the pack for rookies, but bottom third for the league average. But while he's not an efficient scorer, he is above that absurd threshold where PER increases with FGAs. Of course, he leads all rookies in FGAs, and that's the primary reason he is one of only two rookies with a positive "Value Added".

Dunn, to no one's surprise, is shooting terribly (27.8% 3P; 40% 2P) in a limited sample (though even he would up his PER and thus his "VA" if he kept shooting horribly), but has been good on defense, at least measured by defensive box plus/minus, where he's fourth among rookies behind minutes-limited bigs Bolomby, Onuaku and Deyonte Davis.
Sorry, I mis-spoke. I agree with you about the "VA" metric.

Hield's PER is 10.6. I think that's an apt summary of Hield's box-score stats -- he takes too many shots, makes too few of them, and doesn't bring anything else to the table that shows up in the scoresheet.

I've barely watched the Pelicans, so I can't speak to Hield's defense. Some advanced metrics like it, others don't. But unless he's quietly playing Scottie Pippen-level defense, I can't see how he's even a league-average player. For a 23-year old chosen with the #6 pick, that's disappointing -- if they got a do-over, I'm sure the Pelicans would take Jamal Murray (or someone else) instead.
 

Big John

lurker
Dec 9, 2016
1,660
I don't think Hield and Dunn are even in the conversation as alternatives to Brown. The two obvious alternatives are Bender and Chriss.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
21,329
Melrose, MA
Great move by Brown in tonight's game just now, to update, draw the foul, and lay it in. There's far more than just raw athlete there.
 

bowiac

I've been living a lie.
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
12,306
New York, NY
PTPM for rookies with at least 150 minutes.

Players in oPTPM, dPTPM format.


Brown is fine.
 

Montana Fan

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
7,936
Twin Bridges, Mt.
He's absolutely fine. Take a look at Kawhi Leonard and Paul George's 'per 36' stats for their rookie, 20 year old, seasons. Jaylen's numbers are right in line with theirs. The biggest difference is he projects to play about 500 minutes less than Kawhi and 200 less than PG did in their 20 yo seasons.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/brownja02.html#per_minute::none
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/l/leonaka01.html#per_minute::none
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/g/georgpa01.html#per_minute::none
 

bowiac

I've been living a lie.
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
12,306
New York, NY
He's absolutely fine. Take a look at Kawhi Leonard and Paul George's 'per 36' stats for their rookie, 20 year old, seasons. Jaylen's numbers are right in line with theirs. The biggest difference is he projects to play about 500 minutes less than Kawhi and 200 less than PG did in their 20 yo seasons.
Not sure I agree with this. Kawhi and George both showed elite steal skills (as measured by STL%) as rookies. In small sample sizes, that's basically the single more predictive statistic for future NBA success. Kawhi was also pretty much immediately a good three point shooter, while George at least had great FT% numbers, suggesting he had more potential there than Brown does.

I think Brown is fine, but more along the lines of DeMar DeRozan as his upside, rather than true all around players like Kawhi or Paul George.
 

Montana Fan

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
7,936
Twin Bridges, Mt.
I'll sure defer to you on the comments about STL%. I noticed the difference in FT% and also think that's a good predictor. I'd be pretty damn happy if Jaylen turns into a poor man's Kawhi or PG. That's about where I think he projects.
 

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
3,879
PTPM for rookies with at least 150 minutes.

Players in oPTPM, dPTPM format.


Brown is fine.
I was looking at the league-wide numbers the other day at Nylon Calculus and saw Chriss out there on his island of suck. The scouts who hated his defense at Washington are looking good. He was always a project, but he's looking like a loooong term project.

Maybe not the thread for it, but here's the league-wide spreadsheet. Isaiah is second overall behind Durant on oPTPM. What a season he's having.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
5,152
I'd love to see an analysis of "3 month in value added" (or whatever advanced stat you want) compared to say, 4th year value added. I'd expect there to be some
PTPM for rookies with at least 150 minutes.

Players in oPTPM, dPTPM format.


Brown is fine.

This is telling us that Brown is close to neutral on defense and somewhat harmful on offense? And that most rookies are in the same boat, or worse even? Marquesse Chris = bad, Caris LeVert = good?

How much work have you done/seem on predictive value of rookie numbers? My guess it that they can be useful (though less so than say, minor league baseball numbers), but like with baseball, age is a very important variable.
 

bowiac

I've been living a lie.
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
12,306
New York, NY
How much work have you done/seem on predictive value of rookie numbers? My guess it that they can be useful (though less so than say, minor league baseball numbers), but like with baseball, age is a very important variable.
Basketball has aging curves, which rookies are part of, but I have not seen much on rookie numbers in particular. (Apart from this piece about big man defense). It's a good question, and a good avenue of research, but not something I know much about in particular.

Standard caveat that there's a lot of noise in these types of stats, especially given the relatively limited number of minutes for most guys. But Brown looks somewhat better defensively than I expected.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
21,329
Melrose, MA
Another question on Brown: what is his best position? Anecdotally, some of his better moments from this year seem to have come in big lineups where he is the 2 guard. And at times they have used him 1 on 1 against ballhandlers are he has seemed effective.

I don't think he's played enough anywhere to really get a handle on this, but is it possible that "big 2 guard" is where he fits best? His handle and shooting aren't good enough yet, but that was also true for a young Avery.
 

slamminsammya

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,837
Palo Alto
How much work have you done/seem on predictive value of rookie numbers? My guess it that they can be useful (though less so than say, minor league baseball numbers), but like with baseball, age is a very important variable.
Just yesterday I read an article presenting some evidence that even the first summer league has some predictive value. In particular, playing poorly in the first summer league is historically a strong indicator of being a terrible player. Dominating summer league however seems to show no predictive value. This makes sense - any first round pick who will be a decent player should at least hold their own in summer league. Sadly, I could not find the link to the article.

The methodology looked at PER in summer league versus minutes weighted PER for the first 3 years, which is admittedly rudimentary but summer league does not lend itself to the more advanced stuff, at least over the data set this person looked at. Every player who had a PER below 12 in summer league turned out to be a worthless NBA player.

I believe among this years crop Dragan Bender and Marquise Chriss fell into that category.
 

maufman

Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Gold Supporter
I don't think Hield and Dunn are even in the conversation as alternatives to Brown. The two obvious alternatives are Bender and Chriss.
I'm just saying that early returns on Hield and Dunn are more relevant than on the other guys -- because they're 2-3 years older than the other blue-chippers, it's fair to expect them to be better at the outset than those younger prospects. For example, I'm comfortable calling Dunn a bust, and while Hield has a path to being a decent pro, the five teams who passed on him are breathing a sigh of relief (well, maybe not Minny), and the Pelicans probably wish they had rolled the dice on someone with more upside.

None of the "one-and-done" guys (plus Bender) are setting the world on fire. I don't think the modest statistical differences to date between those guys tell us much, and I certainly haven't watched any of the guys besides Brown enough to make any qualitative judgments. (Obviously, Embiid is the runaway Rookie of the Year favorite, but he's an apples-to-oranges comparison in terms of age, draft class, contract status, etc.)
 

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
9,985
Wasn't there talk about how Jaylen didn't score very well in the SPG/BPG category partly because of the system he was in? Has that played out this year? Are his SPG/BPG better than were projected?

Also, regarding his FT%, can we really make any definitive claims on a 47 shot sample? He is 17/20 after starting the year 15/27. He had one terrible game where he was 3/8. Although he was pretty terrible in college too and that sample size is larger and roughly the same percentage so it's probably safe to say he's not a terribly good FT shooter.
 

bowiac

I've been living a lie.
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
12,306
New York, NY
Wasn't there talk about how Jaylen didn't score very well in the SPG/BPG category partly because of the system he was in? Has that played out this year? Are his SPG/BPG better than were projected?
Not really, no. If anything, the steals are a bit worse than projected. The "system" defenses of his game have not been borne out.

Also, regarding his FT%, can we really make any definitive claims on a 47 shot sample? He is 17/20 after starting the year 15/27. He had one terrible game where he was 3/8. Although he was pretty terrible in college too and that sample size is larger and roughly the same percentage so it's probably safe to say he's not a terribly good FT shooter.
No, you can't make any definitive claims based on 47 shots, but as you note, it's basically consistent with his college career. There were some people saying his college FT% was a fluke, and that his mechanics were good, and that he'd improve. That so far has not been borne out. It's early of course.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
20,503
Saskatoon Canada
The only reason I have to doubt him is the other disappointing Celtics picks like Olynyk and Rozier. I don't like Smart much, but I won't include him.
 

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
9,985
The only reason I have to doubt him is the other disappointing Celtics picks like Olynyk and Rozier. I don't like Smart much, but I won't include him.
They aren't remotely the same. If Jaylen ends up like Olynyk or Rozier, he's a bust. Although Rozier himself can still improve.
 

slamminsammya

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
2,837
Palo Alto
Was not aware that Olynyk was disappointing. Is this judgement based on the merits of Olynyk in isolation or just because we could have had Giannis?
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
7,411
By win shares (9), ppg (10), and rpg (10). Olynyk is right where one would expect the 13th pick of the 1st round of the draft to be. And the Celtics were not the only team to miss on Giannis.

Rozier is in the middle of the flotsam/jetsam pile from the 2015 draft, but there's still time for the 22 year old to improve. And his numbers are hurt a bit by the lack of playing time available to him.