Are the Celtics Jayson Tatum’s Team? ESPN Analyst Offers Interesting Perspective

Jaylen Brown

Getty Jaylen Brown has been tearing it up since the All-Star break.

For the last several seasons, Jayson Tatum has been looked upon as the current face of the Boston Celtics. He’s made five straight All-Star Game appearances and is a three-time All-NBA selection.

While Tatum is widely considered the best player on the Celtics, ESPN analyst Tim Legler said Jaylen Brown, who earned his first All-NBA selection a year ago, is playing the best basketball of his career. While Legler didn’t push for Brown as the best player in Boston, he opened some eyes with his assessment of the eight-year NBA veteran.

Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown Are the NBA’s Top Tandem

Tatum and Brown have done just about everything in the NBA but win. Unfortunately for the Celtics duo, that’s how legacies are based.

In 2022, they helped guide the Celtics to their first NBA Finals since 2010, but the Golden State Warriors outlasted the Celtics in six games to claim the championship. Tatum and Brown both struggled that series and for much of the postseason. Last year, the Celtics were embarrassed on their home court by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

This year, Tatum and Brown have plenty of help. The additions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have given the Celtics arguably the best starting five in the league, and it shows. Boston owns the best record in the NBA at 54-14 and holds a 10-game lead over the second-place Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference.

While the Celtics are a well-rounded, star-studded team, Brown has stepped up his game and received plenty of props from ESPN basketball analyst Tim Legler.

“I think it’s the best basketball he’s played,” Legler said on “The Old Man & the Three” podcast, hosted by J.J. Redick. “The guys’ been great. I really like Jaylen Brown because he really likes to play defense. He takes on that challenge. They don’t hide him. He’s going after whoever that is on that end of the floor.

“The question about Jaylen Brown has been about the super high level of consistency, the shot selection, being able to make plays for people going in either direction, having balance in his game. These were the things and areas of growth we needed to see out of him.”

Legler Says Brown Has Dominated Since the All-Star Break

While Legler didn’t come out and say Brown is better than Tatum, he did point out that Brown has been dominant this season, especially after the All-Star break.

“I think he’s put it all together, J.J.,” Legler said. “I think it’s all happening for him right now.

“Since the All-Star break, he’s led them in scoring six times, Jayson Tatum five times. I’m pretty sure if I listed any one of the 30 teams — I could just say the team right now — and I’d say who’s their best player? You’re immediately going to have a name, and it’s going to be the same name as mine and the same name as most people.

“It’s the same thing with Boston. You’re going to say Jayson Tatum. My point with this is lately, when you’re watching them and you didn’t know anything about the Boston Celtics, but you knew the game of basketball, there are nights you’d go, this is that guy’s team, Jaylen Brown.

“To put it in perspective of what we’re talking about here, since the break, 26 points per game (actually 29). That’s several points above his season average. Fifty-four percent from the field. Forty-one percent on threes. These last two may be the most important. His assist-to-turnover ratio during that stretch is three-to-one. His decision-making and where he’s going with the ball is just so much better right now.

“The last one, you remember the last game against Denver? They lose the game. Tatum struggles. He could’ve redeemed himself if he makes a corner three, but didn’t on a wide-open look. Just had a rough night. Know what Jaylen Brown did in that game? Forty-one points, 14 rebounds. That’s what Jaylen Brown did in this super, high-level, marquee game.”

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