Over the summer, Danny Ainge was forced to make a trade in order to clear enough space to sign Gordon Hayward. With few options and future free agency to consider, he moved Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris.
No one liked the move, but it had to be done. Experts spent the immediate aftermath of the trade trying to figure out just how badly this would hurt the Celtics’ defense moving forward.
It turns out, it didn’t hurt it at all.
Jaylen Brown has assumed a lot of the perimeter defensive matchups that would have been handled by Bradley, and he’s exceeding expectations. He’s more than making up for Bradley’s impact by becoming an indispensable two-way player.
After the Hawks game and the Celtics’ 15th straight win, Boston’s defensive rating with Brown on the court is 94.7. With him off the floor, it jumps to 98.5. Last season, the Celtics’ defensive rating with Bradley on the court was 107.5, and it dropped to 103.8 when he sat down. Again, the overall Celtics defense is much better than it was last year, but the defense gets worse when Brown sits while it got better when Bradley was on the bench.
Players are shooting 36.5 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from three when being defended by Jaylen Brown. Last year, players shot 45.3% percent from the field and 33.6 percent from three when defended by Avery Bradley.
But beyond the numbers, I have some video breakdowns to show how Jaylen’s size is making a huge difference defensively.
We talk about switching all the time… look at how often Jaylen switches on this play alone.
Go check out the full piece on Boston.com for more examples, including a super athletic block of Kevin Durant, and a couple of other plays you may not have noticed.