The Boston Celtics own the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind the play of their three exciting talents in Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
With the 2020 All-Star Game right around the corner and All-Star voting opening on Christmas Day, it's time to consider how many All-Stars, and which players, the Celtics will get in.
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Walker is a three-time All-Star and started in the All-Star Game last season as a member of the host-city Charlotte Hornets. He has been the motor to his new team this season and is well on his way to starting in his second-straight All-Star Game.
Boasting the third-best record in the NBA to go along with their standing in the East, it's reasonable to believe Boston should receive more than one All-Star. That's where the decision-making gets tough, trying to decide between young stars like Tatum and Brown, assuming they don't both get the nod.
While Tatum has had a great season and has shown improvement as a scorer and defender, Brown has quietly put together a break out campaign coming off of a large contract extension this offseason.
After lighting up the Toronto Raptors on the biggest stage the NBA regular season has to offer on Christmas, then following that performance by scoring a career-high 34 points in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's time to consider Brown as the Celtics second All-Star.
Jaylen Brown's All-Star case
It turned heads when the Celtics signed Jaylen Brown to a four-year, $115 million contract extension before the start of the regular season.
A rough first game on his new deal - mostly due to foul trouble - gave people who already criticized the deal even more ammunition. One game later, he tore up the defending champion-Raptors for 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks and hasn't let up since.
The 23-year-old forward is enjoying a season in which he's averaging career-highs in points (20.7), rebounds (7.0), assists (2.4) and steals (1.0) per game while shooting the highest field goal percentage (52.1%) and 3-point percentage (39.9%) of his career.
He looks like a completely different player on the offensive end, digging deeper into his bag to come out with a variety of moves that we've never seen in the first three seasons of his career. He's improved vastly as a ball handler and has become much better at creating his own shot and converting those looks.
His development as a 3-point shooter is one thing - that career-high of 39.9% from deep is up from 34.4% from three last season. His aggressiveness in attacking the rim is another thing, and you could attribute that type of confidence to shooting a career-best 75.2% from the free throw line, a major improvement in an area that has been a weakness from the start of his career.
Two of the most impressive stats from Brown's breakout fourth season is that he's shooting 69.5% inside the restricted area and 51.1% in the paint, according to NBA.com. Last year, he shot 62.9% and 41.4%, respectively, from those areas of the court.
He's become more assertive in using his elite athleticism to get to the basket - perhaps due to overcoming a potential fear of going to the free throw line - and he's mastered his touch around the rim and in the key.
He also leads the entire NBA with 7.3 points per game on spot-up jumpers, hitting them at a deadly 50.4%. When you think about some of the best spot-up shooters in the league, Jaylen Brown isn't exactly the first player that comes to mind. If you were to use five terms to associate with Brown's game, I'm not sure "spot-up shooter" would even be considered.
The stats tell you otherwise, and it makes it all that much more eye-opening.
And lastly, his career-high 62.2 true shooting percentage puts him in a small class of elite offensive players, joining Karl-Anthony Towns and James Harden as the only players in the NBA that own a true shooting percentage of 62.0% or better while averaging 20.0 or more points per game.
Those are not bad names to be associated with - the best scorer in the NBA and the most versatile offensive big man the league has seen in quite some time.
Above all of these statistics and areas of improvement, he's been vital in helping his team win games and has played a huge role in the Celtics place in the standings through the first few months of the season.
If team success, averaging career-highs in nearly every major statistical category and showing major signs of development in crucial areas of your game can't get you an All-Star bid, I'm not sure what will.
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