Once the NBA season was cobbled together to save billions for the owners and players, the All-Star game was scratched. Two months later, a change of heart. Discussions are circling the drain about a March 7th All-Star game but nothing definitive has been nailed down. The All-Star game might just be ceremonial. Ballots counted but selections used so players who get an All-Star bonus will receive their bonus at the end of the year. And later down the line an All-Star selection can aid in those prickly negotiation lines in the sand (like Andre Drummond at 19 and 15 is worth just as much as Rudy Gobert at 13 and 14). If the game does take place in Atlanta, it will be symbolic.
State Farm Arena was the largest voting site in the state of Georgia for the 2020 election season and it was an early voting site for the Georgia Senate election on January 5th. Thank LeBron James organization More Than A Vote and Stacey Abrams Fair Fight for the unbelievable numbers in the presidential election. 40,000 voted at State Farm Arena. The players and their near bubble walkout gets credit too. They forced the owners to make a concession: use arenas as voting sites.
Whether the game is played or not, there will be a starting five. On the East team, Jaylen Brown deserves a starting nod. He’s having a career year.
The Atlanta native who’s a switch hitter, sometimes shooting guard, sometimes small forward, was drafted out of Cal in the 2016 draft with the 3rd pick and there was some Boston grumbling because last we saw of Jaylen Brown in the tournament he was miserable, missing almost every shot, finishing with 4 points, and losing to Hawaii.
Five years later, Jaylen Brown is showing his doubters I do it like that. A number three pick, he’s taking more shots and making 52%. He’s taking more threes, 6.0 per game, and 44% of go in. His 3.5 assists are a career-high and so is 27.1 ppg which is 6.7 more points than last season. His offensive rating is 119, nine points higher than his previous career-high and his PER is 25.8.
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The Celtics at 10-7 have struggled this season, partly because COVID took players out, partly because Kemba Walker has been injured. They have been an average scoring and defending team despite having Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Rebounding is mediocre as are assists and the C’s just don’t get stops. The Lakers game on Saturday night will be a test because the Lakers have size, and defend almost every night.
However in the blame game, Jaylen Brown isn’t the problem for the Celtics early woes. Recently, the question came up: who would you trade Jaylen Brown for, if anyone? Remember he is 24 years old. Maybe Giannis. Or, Anthony Davis. I wouldn’t trade him for Kawhi. Or, even Luka. Most definitely KD. The list is pretty short which means Jaylen Brown has done what was required of him on draft night.
He’s gotten better. And better. And better. All-Star game for real or on paper, Jaylen Brown will be one of the 15. And then a few months later right before the Olympics. Most Improved Player trophy will have his name on it.