After making it to the NBA Finals one year ago, the Boston Celtics are back at home after falling to the Miami Heat.
Though the Celtics did force a game 7 after being down 3-0, the deficit proved to be insurmountable.
After Tatum went down on his first possession, all of the responsibility rested on Jaylen Brown, who was All-NBA this season. Rather than showing up and being the superstar that Boston fans know, Brown turned in an 8-23 shooting performance, along with eight turnovers.
This resulted in a Celtics loss and advancing the 8-seeded Miami Heat to the NBA Finals. After Brown’s collapse in a game where the spotlight was extra bright on him, it turned up the volume on the talks of breaking up the Celtics star duo.
Pay the Man?
As a result of his All-NBA performance, Jaylen Brown made himself eligible for a supermax extension. As a player that has expressed his displeasure in Boston, especially during the Kevin Durant sweepstakes saga, it’s unclear whether Boston is willing the offer the extension to Brown. Since Brown and Tatum have been a duo, the Celtics have never missed the playoffs, finishing out of the top five of the Eastern Conference only one time.
The Tatum-Brown duo has been very successful, but the Celtics have consistently fallen short of achieving the biggest goal of all. With the duo being 25 and 26, respectively, analysts may believe that it is still too early to pull the plug on the experiment. The only question that can be raised is, “If not now, then when?”. This may be the best chance the Celtics have to get a haul in return for Brown without backing up the Brinks trucks for him.
Run it Back
The Celtics were clearly contenders this season. They just so happened to run into a Miami Heat team with the hottest role players in the association. Another option for Boston is to run it back and retool around the All-Star duo. Marcus Smart is a defensive monarch, but being the third option on a team with championship aspirations might not get it done. With the shaky handle of Brown, it might be best to get a playmaker who can set up Brown and Tatum so they can be as efficient as possible; think Chris Paul.
As previously mentioned, Tatum and Brown are only 25 and 26 years old, respectively. With the two accomplishing so much so soon, it may be wise for the Celtics front office to keep it together one more year and analyze the improvements of the two stars. The only issue is running the risk of potentially losing Brown for nothing when he hits unrestricted free agency after next season.
Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE