The Celtics must wake up and decide whether or not to keep Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown.
The Boston Celtics have one of the most illustrious histories in North American sports, yet they have yet to win another NBA championship in recent years. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the team’s two youthful talents, have led them to multiple Eastern Conference Finals appearances in recent years. However, it appears like Boston is now ready to discuss splitting up the combo.
This isn’t meant to be a knock-on Tatum or Brown’s abilities; rather, it’s a recognition that the Celtics will probably be better off picking one over the other in the long run. In Boston, the Celtics have been a perennial playoff team, but it’s become painfully obvious that they’ve already peaked in the east, with Tatum and Brown leading the way the previous two seasons.
Tatum and Brown are two of the league’s emerging young stars, averaging over 24 points per game this season. Both players were lottery picks, with the Celtics selecting them No. 3 overall in consecutive years (2016 and 2017). At the time, Boston likely believed they’d assembled a powerful combo capable of competing for championships over the following five years. Things haven’t exactly gone as planned.
The Celtics have won fewer games each season since the two teamed up in 2017. This isn’t entirely on the shoulders of the Tatum-Brown duo, but as the top dogs, they must bear some responsibility. Danny Ainge, the team’s former president and general manager, is solely responsible for the team’s formation. But now that he’s gone, Brad Stevens is on his own to figure it out.
Tatum and Brown are in their sixth season together and have yet to better their first season together, which saw them go 55-27 and reach the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Celtics’ worst season was 2020-21 when they finished with a.500 records and were dominated by the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. As the season nears its midway point, the Celtics are two games under.500. In recent years, Boston has undergone some changes, but the nucleus of Tatum, Brown and even Marcus Smart has remained.
I believe we’ve seen this Celtics team as a whole go about as far as can be expected. Tatum and Brown are both excellent, but their styles are very similar, which isn’t the finest compliment. When things become close in Boston, the offence tends to revert to isolation ball, as they did against the Knicks a few nights ago, blowing a 25-point lead in the second half. The Celtics are currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a 19-21 record.
The time has come for Boston to move through with a deal for one of its young studs. If forced to make a decision, I believe the Celtics would trade Brown and keep Tatum. In exchange for Brown, Boston might receive a sizable sum. Perhaps one or two players, as well as a first-round draft pick.
The Celtics have nothing to lose at this point, so they might as well call Daryl Morey in Philadelphia about Ben Simmons. Brown, Smart, another player, and a draft pick could just be able to pull it off. Probably not, given Morey’s unrealistic trade expectations, but with the trade deadline approaching in a few weeks, it’s worth a call. Another obvious option is Damian Lillard, but the Blazers are such a disaster as a franchise right now that getting that move done would be even more difficult.
What do you think LeBron James and the Lakers would be willing to give up for Brown right now? Perhaps Anthony Davis? Certainly, Russell Westbrook at this stage. I’m quite sure neither of these situations will play out, but the Celtics need to get their act together as soon as possible. Stevens faces a difficult assignment in getting the franchise back on track over the next year or two. If it’s going to happen, it’ll most likely be without Tatum or Brown. It’s time to let go of the bait and move on.
They just need a pass first point guard… Lonzo Ball or Ricky Rubio would’ve been perfect… The rest of the roster sucks as well