Cedric Maxwell shares how Jaylen Brown must modify his game for Celtics


Jaylen Brown's role has changed a lot this season as the Boston Celtics have integrated a healthy Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving into the lineup.

Both Irving and Hayward missed significant time last season due to injuries, and Brown was able to flourish into a star in their absences. Brown has not been able to give the same high-caliber performances this season, at least to this point, and it's quite possible he comes off the bench when he returns from a back injury -- potentially Thursday against the New York Knicks

Can Brown change his game and be productive in a different role? Cedric Maxwell, former Celtics forward and current radio color analyst for 98.5 The Sports Hub's game broadcasts, thinks Brown's situation is similar to what he faced in the 1980s when Larry Bird came to the C's.

"I'm going to look in the mirror," Maxwell said during Monday night's episode of "Early Edition." "There was a guy who was averaging 19 points per game when this kid named Larry Bird came in. He had to change his game. Had to modify his game to fit into what they were doing. That might be the same thing with (Brown). He has to modify his game, change it back around because last year he had all the shots, all the time he wants. Now, he's smart enough, he has to understand, 'Hey, I have to be a great defender. I have to be a better rebounder. There are things I have to do to keep myself on the floor.'

"I think he's smart enough to do that."

Cedric Maxwell on Jaylen Brown's role with the Celtics

On Arbella Insurance Early Edition, Cedric Maxwell joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Jaylen Brown's role with the Celtics. Tanguay talks about whether Boston should look into dealing Jaylen to lessen the minutes logjam, while Max thinks he might just need to change his game like he did when Larry Bird came to the Celtics.

Опубліковано NBC Sports Boston Вівторок, 4 грудня 2018 р.

Maxwell averaged 19 points per game in the season before Bird arrived in Boston. Bird won Rookie of the Year in 1979-80, and Maxwell's scoring average dropped to 16.9 points per contest. Maxwell's scoring and shot attempts gradually decreased as Bird became a Hall of Fame player over the next couple of seasons, but the veteran forward still found ways to remain a key contributor. Maxwell was a good defender, he could rebound and he came up clutch in the playoffs, most notably in the 1981 NBA playoffs when he won Finals MVP over Bird. 

The game has changed a lot since Maxwell played, but his point is a good one.

Brown isn't going to get the same amount of shots if the Celtics have a full, healthy roster, so he needs to earn minutes by being an excellent wing defender, a good rebounder, attacking the basket and drawing fouls, being a reliable 3-point shooter, etc. The Celtics have attempted the second-fewest free throws per game (19.2) and rank 10th in 3-point percentage. Brown should be able to help in both of those areas in addition to his very good perimeter defense. 

Brown always was going to be the guy to suffer the most when Hayward came back. The adjustment hasn't been a smooth process so far, but there's still a ton of time for him and the coaching staff to figure out the best lineups. It's a really good problem to have, too, because the C's need all of this talent and depth if they have any chance of reaching the NBA Finals and dethroning the Golden State Warriors.

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