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Moses Brown 3 things to know about intriguing new Celtics center

Moses Brown 3 things to know about intriguing new Celtics center

Kemba Walker, Al Horford, Celtics

Moses Brown 3 things to know about intriguing new Celtics center

Why Celtics landing Moses Brown is underrated element of Kemba … Fri, 18 Jun 2021 07:00:00 -0700-Neither the NBA nor the Boston Celtics could let basketball fans catch their collective breath this week. After a week full of injuries, Chris Paul ending up in the …

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3 things to know about intriguing new Celtics center Moses Brown 3 things to know about intriguing new Celtics center Moses Brown

June 18, 2021

Celtics

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Moses Brown (left) works against Celtics center Tristan Thompson. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

By Khari Thompson

June 18, 2021 | 4:17 PM

— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 18, 2021

But his performance for the rebuilding Thunder last year makes Brown an intriguing young option at center for a team that needed better, more consistent interior play last season. He even showed glimpses of what he can do against the Celtics themselves.

Here are a few things to know about Boston’s newest young big man.

He was an unlikely high school star

Brown didn’t exactly come into high school with the kind of notoriety a Mikey Williams, Jalen Green, or Bronny James did.

But a six-inch growth spurt helped change that.

He grew from 6-foot-8 to 7-foot-2 as a sophomore and turned into a force for Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, New York while playing alongside Cole Anthony – now a point guard for the Orlando Magic.

Brown earned McDonald’s All-American honors in 2018 and ended his high school years as five-star recruit garnering interest from Kentucky, Maryland, Florida State, and UCLA – his eventual pick for college.

Boston will be his fourth team in three years.

Brown starred at UCLA, making the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team during his only college season. But he went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft.

He saw one game of action for the Houston Rockets during the 2019 Summer League before eventually signing a two-way contract with the Portland Trailblazers for his rookie season. He saw little action, averaging just 3.7 minutes and 1.2 points per game during his nine games.

The young center then latched on with the Oklahoma City Thunder on another two-way contract, starting the season in the G League. He earned All-NBA G League First Team after season averages of 18.5 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks before joining the rebuilding Thunder full-time.

He had one of his best games against the Celtics.

Brown played 42 games for the Thunder in his second year, making the first of his 32 starts on March 14. He notched his first double-double two days later against the Chicago Bulls, scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.

But he saved one of his best performances for the Celtics two weeks later.

Brown scored a (then) career-high 21 points and recorded his current best mark of 23 rebounds in the loss to Boston. The 23 rebounds tied Steven Adams for the highest single-game total in franchise history. He also set the team record for rebounds in a half with 19 and posted the second-fastest double-double in Thunder history (8 minutes, 11 seconds).

Only his final game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers – 24 points, 18 rebounds, seven blocks – earned him a higher game score, according to Cleaning The Glass.

Stay up to date on all the latest news from Boston.com

Celtics

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Moses Brown (left) works against Celtics center Tristan Thompson. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

By Khari Thompson

June 18, 2021 | 4:17 PM


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3 things to know about intriguing new Celtics center Moses Brown Fri, 18 Jun 2021 07:00:00 -0700-Brown was a McDonald's All-American in high school and played just one year at UCLA before declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. He went undrafted back in June …

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Why Celtics landing Moses Brown is underrated element of Kemba Walker trade

June 18, 2021

Kemba Walker and Al Horford are the big names involved in Boston’s blockbuster trade Friday which kicked off Brad Stevens’ tenure as president of basketball operations. However, one secondary piece in the deal could end up making a big impact in Boston down the line: 21-year-old center Moses Brown.

So who exactly is the undrafted big man? And why is he a critical part of the deal from Boston’s perspective?

The player

Brown was a McDonald’s All-American in high school and played just one year at UCLA before declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. He went undrafted back in June 2019 but was signed to a two-way deal by the Blazers in September 2019, playing just nine games with them during the 2019-20 season.

Brown moved on from Portland after one year to sign another two-way deal with the Thunder last offseason. He began the 2020-21 season with a tremendous effort for Oklahoma City’s G-League affiliate, earning several awards during the G-League Bubble before getting a bigger chance with the big club in the second half of the season. He made his first start for Oklahoma City on March 14 and held the starting center role for much of the second half of the season once the Thunder elected to rest Al Horford for games down the stretch.

The UCLA product finished the year with 32 starts in 43 games, while nearly averaging a double-double (8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds) over just 21.4 minutes per game. He provided good finishing around the rim but has no reliable shooting range outside of the paint, something that impacted his free throw shooting poorly (60 percent in his career). His rim protection (nearly two blocks per 36 minutes) and finishing makes him a nice developmental prospect for the Celtics over the long term given his age.

The contract

This is where the Brown addition gets even more appealing for Boston as a side aspect of the bigger deal. The young center is under team control for cheap during the next three seasons after signing a multi-year contract with the Thunder back in March. The contract is fully non-guaranteed for the next three years and is for minimum money.

2021-22: $1.7 million

2022-23: $1.8 million

2023-24: $2 million (team option)

Having proven prospects signed at such a low cost is a big deal for a team like Boston that has so much money tied up in its top five or six players. Those big money commitments will limit Brad Stevens’ ability to add helpful free agents in future seasons. If Brown can develop into a useful rotation player on a winning team in the next year or two, that’s going to be a valuable tool for the Celtics to build forward with, particularly at a position where the team has never elected to invest heavily in during the past two seasons (center).

Brown’s presence also makes other members of the roster available to use as trade chips, potentially as soon as this offseason. Boston already has Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams and Grant Williams under contract through 2022 while adding Horford and Brown to that mix in this deal. Brad Stevens could elect to keep that depth given the injury concerns surrounding Horford and R. Williams but it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see one of those players moved for help in another area of the roster.

Final Thoughts

Giving up a first-round pick (No. 16 overall) in this deal for Boston probably was not easy when the team was taking a bloated contract back in Horford. However, the addition of another young prospect being acquired in the deal in Brown with good cost control definitely eased the pain of giving up that appealing pick. When all is said and done, Brown could end up being the player who is a more meaningful long-term acquisition in the deal for Boston instead of a 35-year-old Horford.


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– June 18, 2021
Kemba Walker, Al Horford, Celtics

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