Celtics’ Jaylen Brown’s playoff struggles could have been costly with contract selections looming

Jaylen Brown is a incredible participant. On paper, he qualifies as good. The Boston Celtics’ co-star is unequivocally one among many NBA’s biggest players at his place.

He made his second straight All-Star look this season, licensed for second-team All-NBA, has been a High-17 scorer each of the earlier three seasons and averaged a career-best 26.6 components per sport throughout the widespread season for a Celtics group that accomplished with the second-best file throughout the Japanese Convention this yr.

Brown has averaged on the very least one steal per sport in 5 of his seven NBA seasons, shoots 5 share components greater than the NBA’s widespread self-discipline goal share (42%), has confirmed largely sturdy displaying in on the very least 57 video video games every season and has historically been a reliable three-point shooter.

A incredible participant definitely. On paper, a incredible.

There’s a distinct segment, nonetheless, between incredible, presumably good, superstar and a show-stopper, which Brown proved himself to not be throughout the Japanese Convention Finals. The Celtics grew to grow to be merely the fourth group in NBA historic previous to drive a Recreation 7 after trailing a playoff assortment 0-3, only for the Miami Warmth to indicate the TD Backyard proper right into a woodshed and hand the Celtics a 19-point lashing en path to an NBA Finals date with the Denver Nuggets.

When Boston’s superhero forward Jayson Tatum turned his ankle on Recreation 7′s opening possession, clearly restricted and hobbled for the remainder of the game, the Celtics needed Brown to step up. They needed him to be at minimal the incredible, good participant he’d confirmed himself to be by way of the widespread season.

That didn’t happen: Brown coughed up merely as many turnovers (eight) as every made footage and missed three-point makes an try. He didn’t impression the game in several strategies no matter his broken jumper and took a once more seat to Derrick White, a activity participant who the Celtics felt further cosy working late-game offense by with Tatum serving largely as a decoy.

Brown’s Recreation 7 stat line study 19 components on 8-of-23 taking footage from the sector and one-of-nine taking footage from downtown. It marked his fourth sport of the gathering logging decrease than 20 components, the fourth sport of the gathering he shot worse than 44% from the sector, the fourth sport of the conference finals he turned the ball over on the very least 3 occasions and the sixth sport of the gathering he shot poorly from downtown.

Brown shot 16% from downtown in opposition to the Warmth throughout the assortment. In the event you take away his 3-of-5 taking footage night in Recreation 5, the Celtics’ star shot 4-of-38 from behind the arc throughout the assortment.


And the Celtics’ star couldn’t ship when his group needed him most. As just a few of the greats in Boston’s storied franchise historic previous watched shut by, hoping the Celtics would make historic previous and develop to be the one group to ever come once more from down 0-3 to win a playoff assortment, the second proved too giant.

And so could Brown’s subsequent contract.

Brown qualifies as a incredible participant on paper, and good players protected good baggage. In Brown’s case, he’s eligible to sign a five-year, $295 million supermax contract extension this summer season season. Tatum is eligible for a similar deal in further of $300 million subsequent summer season season. The Celtics have an opportunity to keep up their duo of wings in Beantown for the next half-decade — and it might value them over $610 million.

Championships, nonetheless, are the one points that matter in Boston — not incredible, good players who can’t get the job executed. There have been an array of views on Brown’s slot in Boston, ranging from ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins urging Celtics possession to commerce the star wing this summer season season to native Boston media pleading with administration to pay him no matter his struggles.

Brown deserves a payday. There isn’t any debate about that. He has outperformed the four-year, $106 million deal he signed at age 24. In actuality, max contracts are further about price to an individual group. If the Celtics chosen to not max out Brown, as an example, he could develop to be an unrestricted free agent the following summer season season and depart for nothing — or use the specter of leaving for nothing to create an untenable setting.

Kyrie Irving did it in Brooklyn. So did James Harden.

On the alternative aspect of the an identical coin, Irving proved with out a shadow of a doubt he’s capable of delivering in high-pressure moments and Harden is an offensive experience so gifted, his abilities helped onset a basketball analytics movement.

Brown folded beneath stress inside arm’s attain of what could have been Boston’s second consecutive NBA Finals look. The Celtics allowed the Warmth to develop to be the first No. 8 seed to reach the Finals given that Knicks did it in 1999.

And whereas Brown isn’t solely chargeable for Boston’s unraveling, his play solely made points worse. It was a hard sight to stomach for an organization searching for to dangle its nineteenth NBA championship banner.

One other troublesome sight to stomach? Two-hundred-ninety-five million {{dollars}} going to the participant who couldn’t ship when his group needed him most.

Sadly for Boston, the selection might be worse. Dropping a incredible, good participant for nothing in free firm isn’t any greater than the idea of overpaying him, and blowing up a core that acquired right here inside inserting distance of the elusive nineteenth title two seasons in a row received’t benefit from enterprise sense.