Neither the NBA nor the Celtics could let basketball fans catch their collective breath this week.
After a week full of injuries, Chris Paul ending up in COVID-19 protocol with the Western Conference finals approaching, and Rick Carlisle potentially being added to the Celtics coaching candidates list, Brad Stevens made his first splash as president of basketball operations.
The Celtics traded ailing guard Kemba Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 draft, and a 2025 second-round draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Celtics fan favorite Al Horford, a 2023 second-round pick, and a young center named Moses Brown.
Though he’s the least-known name on this list, Brown might be the most relevant one for the Celtics’ future. That seems like a surprising development given how the 21-year-old center’s NBA career began. Brown came into the NBA undrafted out of UCLA and struggled at first to find his footing in the league.
Some things I'm hearing in the aftermath of the Kemba deal:— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) June 18, 2021
-Cs feel better about their chances of re-signing Fournier now
-This doesn't necessarily mean Tristan Thompson's time in Boston is over
-Moses Brown was mostly added as a salary match but will get a look
But his performance for the rebuilding Thunder makes Brown an intriguing young option at center for a team that needed better, more consistent interior play. 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 notice a Mikey Williams, Jalen Green, or Bronny James did.
But a 6-inch growth spurt helped change that.
He grew from 6-8 to 7-2 as a sophomore and turned into a force for Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens 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 a 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 Trail Blazers for his rookie season. He saw little action, averaging just 3.7 minutes and 1.2 points 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 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, 7 blocks — earned him a higher game score, according to Cleaning The Glass.