Sophomore strides: Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson

Sophomore Strides: - Jimmy Butler, Jaylen Brown advanced stats -Klay Thompson

Jaylen Brown‘s performance against Golden State Saturday (20 points, 6 of 9 shooting, 0 assists) invites comparison to his in-game matchup with Warriors two-wary standout Klay Thompson (7 points, 3 of 12 shooting, 3 assists).

It’s only one game. And, a Celtics loss at that. So we added another fast-developing sophomore, Jimmy Butler, to the mix, and compiled the tables nearby for your consideration. (For a larger view, you can right-click the image.)

Sophomore strides

Sophomore strides: Jaylen  Brown, Jimmy  Butler, Klay Thompson second-year advanced stats - BasketballReference.comCounting stats look remarkably similar for the three sophomores. Brown enjoys a sizeable advantage over Butler in scoring, and Thompson in rebounding. The assist-to-turnover ratio favors Butler and Thompson. Brown puts up steals and blocked-shot numbers comparable to his future-all-star counterpars.

The advanced stats are close in some areas, with a wider gap in others. Brown trails significantly in value-over-replacement-player, and somewhat in win shares. In true shooting percentage, Player Efficiency Rating, defensive win shares, and even turnover percentage, the three are surprisingly close.

Jimmy  Butler Jaylen  Brown slamonline social media twitter postEnter the first of many caveats: Brown is just a little more than half-way through the season. By contrast, the Thompson-Butler numbers are based on 82 games. Brown appears to be improving before everyone’s eyes, as did Thompson and Butler in their sophomore years.

Things could, of course, go the opposite way. For example, Brown shot free-throws at a 65% clip both in college, and >70% over the first half of last season. Since last February, his accuracy declined.

Furtheremore, Brown (left, hanging out with Butler over the summer) is 21 years of age. Butler was 23, and Thompson 22, during their second campaigns, respectively.

Different roles

Many of the differences in both counting and efficiency stats can be somewhat discounted. Brown plays on a contending team that’s led the NBA for most of the season in defensive efficiency. Brown doesn’t have a Joakim Noah protecting the trim.

On offense, Brown is playing with a far less efficient offense than Thompson, even in the early days of the Splash Brothers. He is, however, able to enjoy a lot of nice looks from 3-point territory thanks to the attention Kyrie Irving draws. Not to mention the passing of Al Horford and the shooting of Jayson Tatum.

Brown is counted on for more rebounding too, as the Celtics continue to struggle — though less than last season — against teams with great athleticism up front. On the one hand, this “helps” his rebounding numbers. On the other, it probably deprives him of some easy shots on fast-break opportunities. And on the other other hand, Brown and the Celtics fast break have been anything but Celtics-fast-break-like in efficiency.

Tell us what you think

Jaylen Brown’s NBA journey began with mild booing when the Celtics announced his selection to fans at the team’s 2016 draft party. It continued a year ago when he was inserted as a starter for two weeks, and the Celtics went on a season-turning 9-of-10 run. Followed up by an impressive (for a 20-year old) performance in the 1027 playoffs.

Can his sophomore strides continue? Boston fans hope so, abetted by the promising affirmation that is Brown’s twitter handle: FCHWPO.

(“Faith – consistency – hard work – pays off.”)

Agree? Disagree? Take the twitter poll, post your remarks in the comments section below, on reddit, or on facebook.

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Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff

Celtics247 staff is composed of fans, journalists, disbarred attorneys, people laid off by ESPN, and other disreputable types who spend too much time watching basketball -- and loving it. If you'd like to join our merry band, you can post a comment, tweet us at @Celts247, or email us (see the contact page.) The only requirement is that you bleed green.


  1. Pingback: Rising stars: Jaylen Brown gaining on Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson - Celtics247

  2. Celtics247 staff

    Celtics247 staff


    Thanks to our staff who contributed to this piece — and thanks to Jaylen Brown for making us look good by draining that 3 a few hours later against the Nuggets –

  3. W


    Brown shot 65% from the line in collge, not over 70%: I worry that the free throw shooting is a sign that he’s not as good of a three point shooter as he’s looked, but hopefully it’s just a small mental thing that he can fix. His form looks good to me.

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