Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown named to Bleacher Report’s 23 under 23 list

The Boston Celtics are heading in a new direction, with former stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford leaving in free agency.

As the Celtics re-establish their identity, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are going to be at the center of it all, along with Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker.

Tatum and Brown, along with 21 other promising young players in the NBA, received their due in Bleacher Report’s 23 under 23 list that was released Thursday. Bleacher Report placed Tatum at fourth, and Brown came in at No. 11.

Though he took a slight dip in field goal percentage last season, Tatum, 21, still showed why he is one of the top young players in the league.

He is a skilled scorer, and he averaged 15.7 points per game on 45.0% shooting from the field. What Tatum will need to work on going forward, though, is shot selection.

While he has the ability to shoot from the midrange well, he took too many jumpers from the middle of the floor last season compared to his rookie year. According to Basketball Reference, Tatum shot 13.7% of his 2-point field goal attempts from 10-16 feet of the hoop; during his rookie year, he took 9.6% of his 2-point field goal attempts from that area.

As for Brown, 22, he will need to take a step in his scoring and 3-point shooting. Assuming Brown becomes a bigger part of the offense — he had a 22.1% usage percentage last season — he should be able to increase his production on that side of the floor.

In three years in the league, Brown has proven to be a quality perimeter defender. But for the Celtics to take a step forward, he’ll need to become a better scorer. Last season Brown averaged 13.0 points per game on 46.5% shooting from the field.

If he doesn’t become a better scorer, though, Brown could also focus on being a facilitator in the starting lineup. The Celtics already have capable scorers in Tatum, Hayward and Walker.

Brown could potentially play a role similar to the one Draymond Green has played for the Golden State Warriors. Having Brown play that role could help the Celtics achieve balance on offense, which they struggled to do last season.

As the Celtics prepare for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how Tatum and Brown are integrated, and it could be a breakout year for both players.

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