Cal Basketball: Jaylen Brown joins exclusive club with trip to NBA Finals

In his 86th career postseason game on Sunday night, Jaylen Brown did what other former Cal Shareef players Abdur-Rahim, Lamond Murray, Ryan Anderson and others never did.

He reached the NBA Finals.

On his fourth try in the Eastern Conference Finals, Brown and his Boston Celtics teammates overcame the hump with a 100-96 victory in Game 7 over the Miami Heat.

Jaylen Brown dunks on the Heat

Brown, 25, contributed 24 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win.

His NBA Finals opener against the Golden State Warriors will be played Thursday at the Chase Center in San Francisco, just 12.5 miles from the Haas Pavilion, where he averaged 14.6 points as a Cal rookie. one-and-done in 2015-16.

Brown certainly seems more ready for the big stage right now than he has ever been.

Check out the growth he’s shown in his four Eastern Conference Finals:

In 2017, as a rookie in a five-game loss to Cleveland, Brown averaged 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists while shooting 20% ​​(1-for-5) from the 3 point bow.

In 2018, a seven-game loss to Cleveland, his numbers soared to 19.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and he went 36% (17-47) from deep.

In 2020, in a six-game loss to Miami, Brown averaged 23.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and effectively converted 50% (17 for 34) of his tries at 3 points.

This year, Brown produced 24.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and shot 40 percent (19 for 47) of 3 in seven games against the Heat. It was the sixth consecutive postseason series where he averaged more than 20 points per game.

The seven Cal alums below have combined to play in 12 NBA Finals, with Darrall Imhoff and Jason Kidd each taking three stabs. (Not included is Mark McNamara, who played a total of five minutes in three NBA Finals games in 1983 and 1989).

Four of seven rings won – Charles Johnson, Francisco Elson, Leon Powe and – most recently, in 2011 – Kidd.

Here are those former Golden Bears (with their Cal years in parentheses) and what they achieved in the NBA Finals:

Darrall Imhoff can't stop Celtics legend Bill Russell

Darrall Imhoff can’t stop Bill Russell


1965: Imhoff and the Los Angeles Lakers have faced the Boston Celtics in the Finals three times in four years and lost each time. Imhoff had minimal impact in that five-game loss, playing just 11 minutes per game and never scoring more than three points in any of them.

1966: A backup center, Imhoff contributed 2.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Lakers in a 4-3 loss to the Celtics. Bill Russell topped the series, giving Boston 23.6 points and 24.3 rebounds per game.

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1968: Imhoff played a bigger role for the Lakers against the Celtics two years later, posting 8.5 points and 10.2 rebounds. But the Celtics won in six games this time. In the Lakers’ Game 4 win, Jerry West scored 38 points and Elgin Baylor had 30, but Imhoff also made an impact with 11 points, 20 rebounds and six assists.


1975: Johnson averaged 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds as a starter in the Warriors’ four-game sweep of the Washington Bullets. On a team with leading scorer Rick Barry, Johnson hit double digits twice in the series.

1979: A replacement for the Washington Bullets, Johnson averaged 7.2 points in the 4-1 loss to a Seattle SuperSonics team along with former Warriors teammate Gus Williams. Johnson scored 18 points in Game 4.

PHIL CHENIER (1970-71)

1975: Playing for the Washington Bullets, Chenier averaged 23.0 points – the most ever by a Cal player in the NBA Finals – as well as 5.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals. in a 4-0 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Chenier scored 30 points in Game 2, had 26 points and 11 assists in the Finals and shot 34 for 36 from the free throw line in four games.

Kevin Johnson, right, and Charles Barkley

Kevin Johnson, right, and Suns teammate Charles Barkley


1993: KJ averaged 17.2 points and 6.5 assists in the Phoenix Suns’ six-game loss to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Charles Barkley was the Suns’ No. 1 option, but Johnson twice scored 25 points in the series. Jordan was spectacular, averaging 41 points, including 55 in one of Chicago’s wins.

JASON KIDD (1993-94)

2002: Kidd was at the top of his game, averaging 20.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 9.8 assists and 2.3 steals, but the New Jersey Nets were no match for a team from the Los Angeles Lakers powered by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, losing 4-0. Kidd had a triple-double with 23-10-10 in Game 1 and scored 30 points in Game 3.

2003: Kidd provided the Nets with 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.2 steals in a 4-2 Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs, led by Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Kidd had 29 and 30 point games in the series.

Jason Kidd rides on Tony Parker

Jason Kidd rolls over Tony Parker as Dirk Nowitzki approaches

2011: At 38, Kidd averaged the modest numbers of 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.2 steals but helped Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks win a 4-2 series against a Miami Heat team featuring LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. . It remains the Mavs’ only NBA championship. Kidd now coaches the team.


2007: Elson holds something of a record for taking every shot he’s ever taken in the NBA Finals. As a backup to Tim Duncan, he was 6 of 6 from the field, contributing 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in the San Antonio Spurs’ 4-0 sweep of LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LEON POWE (2004-06)

2008: Powe averaged 6.2 points in just 8.9 minutes per game, helping the Boston Celtics win a six-game series against Bryant and the Lakers. He became a Boston favorite when he scored 21 points in just 14 minutes off the bench in the Celtics’ 108-102 Game 2 win.

Cover photo of Jaylen Brown driving on the Warriors’ Draymond Green by Winslow Townson, USA Today

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