NBA

Jaylen Brown is becoming a superstar, and it’s time to stop thinking of him as second fiddle to the Celtics

Jaylen Brown is becoming a superstar, and it’s time to stop thinking of him as second fiddle to the Celtics

For years Jaylen Brown it has been thought of as a second fiddle. A very good one, but a second fiddle nonetheless. Jayson Tatum it was in the same place for a while, an evolving secondary star on the side Kyrie Irving. But Tatum graduated from that perception, taking his rightful place in the conversation among the game’s elite as an MVP candidate and worthy No. 1 on a championship-caliber team.

As a result, Brown has been left behind in this conversation. Like Scottie Pippen standing next to Michael Jordan, it’s become too easy, too natural, that we still think of Brown as a teammate, as someone whose All-Star credentials still have to be questioned and subsequently defended by people like Thank you Fall.

Autumn is right. If Brown, barring injury, is not an All-Star this season, the unrest would be justified. To even ask that question is an insult, and yet the fact that it actually has to be asked tells you where Brown, who was snubbed as an All-Star last season, remains stuck in limbo. N.B.A conscience. In reality, Brown’s play this season, so far, warrants nothing less than a debate in the NBA and maybe even more.

“The things [Jaylen is] doing when he’s at his best are the same things JT does [Jayson Tatum] he’s doing his thing [best],” Marcus Smart he said recently. “JT has been in talks for this MVP race, and when JB’s [Brown] playing the way he’s playing, at his highest peak, he’s at it [MVP] career too.”

Part your hair if you want. Brown won’t be a true MVP candidate as long as Tatum plays like this, but the spirit of Smart’s comments remains. You can remove the all of Brown’s star classification. It’s just a star. Through 19 games, effectively a quarter of the season, Brown is averaging over 26 points per game on better than 50 percent shooting. Only eight other players in the league can say that, and they are the biggest names in the game.

Break it down to guys who are putting up those numbers on less than 20 shots a night, and Brown becomes a five. It’s nearly impossible to keep him out of the paint, and every year he becomes more assertive in doing so without forcing things too much. There’s a lot of balance in Brown’s shot chart these days: 31 percent of his shots are 3s, 31 percent come from midrange, 38 percent at the rim, to clear the glass .

As his 3-point rate slowly climbs, up 40 percent over his last five games, Brown maintains his efficiency by converting five free throws per game (a career high) at 83 percent (a career high career, by far) and lighting up the midrange, where he’s making 50 percent of his shots for the season. And he’s been excellent in November, draining a scorching 60.5 percent for the month, by far the league-highest mark among players who have attempted at least 25 such shots.

It all adds up to a recent stretch of dominance that can only be considered MVP caliber, capped off by a season-high 36-point effort in Tatum’s absence against wizards Sunday, Celtics 12th win in their last 13 outings.

So what do you say we give this man his due? And by due, I don’t mean an All-Star spot. This goes without saying. I mean his real due Just because Brown has a slightly better teammate who happens to be one of the best players in the world doesn’t mean Brown isn’t in the same company. This is the best duo in the NBA right now, and Brown deserves proper recognition for his part in it.

Boston has two MVP level players. No, the Jays are not in the same category as Stephen Curry i Kevin Durant when that tandem shared the court with Golden State, but it’s a similar dynamic in that it can be nearly impossible to tell, on any given night, who really is the top dog. That’s not a knock on Tatum, who is amazing and, to be fair, better than Brown. But suggesting that the rift represents a Batman and Robin dynamic has become increasingly inaccurate. We can no longer use this default setting. Brown is too big in his own right to stand in the shadow of anyone else’s star.





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