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Jaylen Brown's season-ending injury can clarify Celtics future

 If the playoff picture for the Boston Celtics was rosier, I would be writing that Jaylen Brown's season-ending wrist injury was a tragedy. But with the information on his torn wrist ligament coming just prior to the playoffs, it is tough news for the All-Star, but not so horrendous for a team most analysts pegged as going nowhere this year.


Prior to the bad news, NBA analyst, Jalen Rose, had already stated the Celtics were heading to a first-round exit in this season's play-in tournament. The analysis this morning isn't any better with most pundits now in agreement with Rose.

Any pressure to go deep into the post-season is now kaput. The expectations can not be any lower for The Green. Both Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens need to take full opportunity of the situation and clarify just what is needed to improve the team's performance going forward.

How good a season was Jaylen having prior to the injury? His best season yet! He set career-bests at minutes (34;5 MPG), points (24.7 PPG), assists (3.4 APG), steals (1.2 SPG), field goal percentage (48.4%), 3-point percentage (39.7%) and free throw percentage (76.4%). Attempting to replace that stat line with a mix of subs should go a long way to determining what path this team will take next season.

Stevens already had a good idea of what Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams and Carsen Edwards can, and cannot, do. All three should see time in the remaining regular season games, but the focus should be on Evan Fournier, Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith. Rob Williams is plagued once again with a nagging injury (turf toe), and there seems little to gain in putting him out there for any extended period.

I honestly don't see Luke Kornet as any part of Boston's solution, and fans have seen little of Jabari Parker since his acquisition. Significant minutes for either player makes little sense. 

Fournier supplies a lot of the veteran stability that Gordon Hayward contributed, and Ainge should think seriously of signing him for the future. Pritchard has proven to be a durable addition (team-high 62 games played) - hits the accelerator on the team's pace when he is on the floor - and looks to be a reliable substitute at the point guard position, at the very least. 

I have been high on Aaron Nesmith since pre-draft time, and his play in the last four games has been revealing. He is tough - he can shoot - he always seems to be on the ball - and he scores in so many ways. But mainly, he hustles. He works hard. Fans want to see more of him. 

Jayson Tatum may be Boston's main building block for the future, but it should not go unnoticed how Brown has continually improved, and added to his game, every season. Whether Danny Ainge sees him as having more value as a critical second-option to Tatum in Beantown, or as major trade chip remains to be seen. But look for the Celtics cloudy future to be clarified in the next several weeks. And sincere wishes for a quick and complete recovery for Jaylen.



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