With all eyes on the Boston Celtics’ dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown this coming season, critics are weighing in on whether the youngsters are mature enough to carry a team to the NBA Finals.
The heartbreaking news of Kemba Walker’s injured left knee is certainly the vehicle driving this conversation but for some, this was an inevitable changing of the guard, so to speak. We just didn’t think we’d see it this soon.
Walker, 30, is a perennial All-Star who’s suffered a significant setback while Brown continues to ascend, which has led many to believe he’s on the verge of making his first All-Star team this year. But is Jaylen, right now, good enough to be a bonafide No. 2 option for a championship-caliber team?
Jeff Goodman On Celtics Dynamic Duo: ‘Jaylen Brown’s Not Good Enough To Be The No. 2 Guy’
Stadium & CLNS Media’s Jeff Goodman doesn’t think so. Talking Celtics alongside his co-host Bob Ryan on the Jeff Goodman & Bob Ryan Podcast, Jeff believes Walker’s injury spells the beginning of the end for the Celtics, and if Walker isn’t his old self at some point this season, Boston doesn’t stand a chance of winning the Eastern Conference and competing for a title.
“Jaylen Brown’s not good enough to be the No. 2 guy,” Goodman said. “Defensively? Absolutely. When you’re getting up-and-down in transition? Yes. But if you don’t have Kemba, you have Jeff Teague and Marcus Smart. To me, they’re going to be playing more in the halfcourt and I don’t think that is where Jaylen Brown thrives.”
Goodman believes without Walker, Jaylen’s offense will be much more inconsistent this season.
“I still think he struggles with his decisionmaking in the halfcourt,” Goodman said. “I think he’s great as a No. 3 guy on your team. I don’t think you can count on him every single night and we’ve seen that. He’s inconsistent with his shot, he’s inconsistent with his decisionmaking; his passing ability.
“So, I think they’re in trouble. If Jaylen Brown has to be your No. 2 guy, I think the Celtics are not a team that can win or compete for the Eastern Conference title.”
Bob Ryan On Jaylen Brown’s Ascension: ‘He Can Recognize The Need And He Continues To Get Better And Better’
Ryan, Jeff’s co-host thinks otherwise.
“He’s incrementally better, so far,” Ryan said when asked if Brown is capable of rising to the occasion on a championship team. “He is extremely bright, as we know. He’s certainly capable of assessing a situation. I think he’s capable of making the attempt to do that, yes I do. I think he can recognize the need and he continues to get better and better, offensively. Defensively, he was always an excellent young defender.
“I didn’t really need to be convinced of anything but he’s really just grown in my mind, on me, to the point where he’s a borderline All-Star. I think that’s high praise.”
READ NEXT: Celtics Star Wowed By Payton Pritchard: ‘Hasn’t Disappointed Me Yet’