Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, two All-Star wings burdened with leading the Boston Celtics to another championship.
Although these two young and talented wings have often been cited as the Celtics’ future, discussions around their ability to play together have been growing in sections of the media and between fanbases across numerous social platforms.
People point to scarcity in which both Tatum and Brown have good games simultaneously, which many take as an indicator that they’re incapable of playing off each other. And that’s the kicker. Good players play together, and great ones play off each other. Boston needs Tatum and Brown to be great players. Otherwise, their rosters’ ceiling is far lower than first thought.
So, when discussions are taking place between fans about how the Celtics can improve their stuttering roster, it should come as no surprise that Brown’s name is often thrown around in trade ideas.
These discussions got taken one step further on December 11, when NBA insider Jake Fischer shared his reasoning for why this current Celtics core is operating on borrowed time.
“I think this is definitely the beginning of the end for the Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown pairing. I don’t know if that will get broken up this season. But I think sometime in the next 12-18 months we’re really going start to hear about to hear the conversations about the future of Boston with Jaylen Brown heading out the door,” Fischer said during a recent appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio.
Kevin O’Connor Has Similar Thoughts
Fischer isn’t the only insider to share his belief that the Celtics will likely move on from Brown before his current contract is up. In a recent article for The Ringer, NBA Insider Kevin O’Connor also detailed his opinion on the Celtics potentially moving on from Brown.
“Moving one of them, more likely Brown, could lead to a massive return and realign the roster around the remaining star and the incoming players,” O’Connor wrote.
However, O’Connor also noted that Boston should make changes elsewhere on their roster before opting to go with the nuclear option of trading one of their foundational pieces.
“Before moving either Brown or Tatum, Stevens should explore changes elsewhere on the roster, by looking at the Celtics’ multiple tradable short-term contracts (Smart, Josh Richardson, Al Horford) and young players who have shown promise (Robert Williams III, Romeo Langford),” O’Connor detailed later in his piece.
It would seem that numerous members of the media are all coming to the same conclusion. If Brad Stevens makes some additional trades leading up to the deadline and fails to change the team’s current trajectory, the Boston’s All-Star duo may be split up before too long.
Brown Has Struggled With Injuries This Season
One of the primary factors in Brown’s current discussions is that he has seldom been healthy this year. In fact, the Georgia native’s injury struggles stem back to last season, where he was sidelined with a ligament injury in his wrist.
Then, heading into the start of this year, Brown contracted COVID, which forced him to miss most of pre-season before a hamstring injury derailed him once the games started flowing.
According to Basketball-Reference, Brown has missed 14 games so far this year, and in the five contests he participated in between hamstring issues, his performances were far from optimal. Over five games, the All-Star wing averaged 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 29.6% shooting from deep and 39.4% shooting from the floor.
Numbers like those clearly indicate Brown wasn’t operating at anything close to full health and would explain why the team shut him down again as he continued to ramp us his recovery. However, Tatum, who struggled to score the ball to start the year, has found his rhythm as of late, which many believe is due to not sharing the court with his explosive counterpart, further fuelling the narrative that a trade is needed.
Brown is set to return to Celtics rotation just in time for their December 13 game against the Milwaukee Bucks, before the team takes a four-day break and then faces the Golden State Warriors. If the Celtics can snap their losing streak, and both wings look good during the process, we can hope that any chatter of trading one of “The Jays” quiets down, at least for the time being.