As Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics continue to navigate supermax negotiations this summer, it’s important to maintain perspective.
For many fans, as the days go by without a new deal, paranoia creeps further and further into their heads. Despite countless reports stressing that delays in these extensions are typical, the whole situation at this point feels far from normal.
As The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reported a few days ago, when Brown had returned from his NBPA retreat in Spain, the two sides are expected to resume discussions this week.
That news draws a sigh of relief from a majority of the fan base, but there is also a large subsection of Celtics fans who prefer to see the team move on from Jaylen via trade. To that group, I will offer a simple warning: the grass is not always greener on the other side.
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Let’s break down why it’s important for Boston to extend Brown.
The negatives have been exaggerated
By now, every Celtics fan with a Twitter account has seen the collection of Brown turning the ball over while dribbling to his left, which began circulating after Boston’s loss in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Yes, the video is definitely not flattering. But cherry-picking clips to build a narrative has only made fans more susceptible to falling into one of the biggest traps in basketball: news bias.
Turnovers — and specifically decision-making — are something Brown needs to work on, but they’re not the end of the world as some people claim they are. Let’s take a step back and add some context.
Brown averaged a career-best 26.6 points per game last season. That ranked NINTH among leading scorers in the NBA. It was great to see Jaylen take that step forward, especially considering his extended usage rate, which ranked 12th among qualifying players at 30.7%.
So Jaylen had the ball in his hands A LOT last season. Based on the aforementioned Twitter video, you’d assume he flips it at an alarming rate as well, right?
Brown was tied for 26th in revenue per game in 2022-23 with just a 2.9 among the likes of Domantas Sabonis, Jrue Holiday and his running mate, Jayson Tatum.
In the playoffs, that number increased, but not as much as you’d expect, as the star averaged 3.3 turnovers per game. competition. That ranked 15th among his peers in the postseason.
Losing the ball is still a concern for Brown – I’m not arguing that. It’s just being exaggerated quite a bit in this case.
Personally, one area I’d like to see significant growth from Brown is his catch-and-shoot three-point percentage, as he only hit 33.4% of those attempts last season. At this point in his career, it’s fair to assume he’ll never be an elite long-range shooter, especially given his shot volume. But if Jaylen can bump that catch-and-shoot three percent to even 36%, it would do wonders for his efficiency and Boston’s overall offensive production.
So now that we’ve established how the negatives of his game have been exaggerated, why don’t we briefly examine the positives?
As I mentioned earlier, Brown is a top-10 scorer who provides elite talent at the NBA’s most valuable position on the wing. While it’s easy to gloss over the recent poor performance in the postseason, we’ve forgotten about his efforts in 2022 NBA finals against Golden State? With Jayson Tatum struggling significantly with injuries and confidence, Brown could have wrapped it up. Instead, he put the offense on his back and averaged 23.5 points per game. battle against the eventual champions. The Celtics ultimately fell short of raising the Banner 18, but it wasn’t because of Brown’s attempt.
Another important aspect of Jaylen’s game that is rarely discussed is his willingness to play second fiddle to Tatum. While some still believe that he would eventually like to land in a situation where he could be “the guy,” Brown has done a great job succeeding in his role as “1A.” Unlike previous players in similar situations, he doesn’t make waves about always giving his co-star the last shot, even when it should have gone to him.
In short, it’s hard to imagine finding a better fit alongside Tatum on this roster.
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Maintaining duty schedule continuity
Speaking of better fit, why don’t we explore what the team could look like if Brad Stevens decided to trade him.
First, the concept of moving on from Jaylen right now doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. While some teams may not want to trade for Brown after he signs supermax due to the massive annual cap hit, he would certainly have more value being locked up long-term than posing a flight risk to any team that acquires him this offseason with just one year left on his deal.
What could Stevens even realistically get in return for Brown? A 33-year-old Damian Lillard with injury issues and an albatross of a contract waiting to kick in? Karl-Anthony Towns, who is a great talent but doesn’t fit well on this list or a “winning” basketball player? A massive draft pick that would just be used to ultimately acquire another star?
There is no guarantee that the return package for Brown would make Boston a better team. In fact, it’s more likely that it wouldn’t.
Extending Brown is not only logical from an appropriateness perspective. It would also play an important role in maintaining roster continuity, which is more important than ever given the constant flow of Boston’s pitching staff over the years. Coaches have come and gone, the team just traded its “heart and soul” for Marcus Smart, and one of the most beloved locker room guys in Grant Williams left in free agency.
To win a championship, a team must build chemistry. Tatum and Brown have already established that and have found consistent success as a result.
Although most fans don’t want to hear this, three Eastern Conference Finals appearances and an NBA Finals trip in the last four years indicate success as a basketball team. At least 90% of the league would kill to be in Boston’s situation.
It’s fair to argue that in those four years, despite the relative success, the team hasn’t gotten over the hump. While that’s technically true, it doesn’t mean that changing the core composition of the roster by moving on from Brown will result in a better product.
Stevens has made significant changes via the Marcus Smart – Kristaps Porzingis trade this offseason because he recognizes that this team can win with an improved group AROUND Tatum and Brown, not by splitting them up.
While the idea of acquiring new talent may be tempting, make no mistake: The Celtics need Jaylen Brown.