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Jason Kidd Drops the Mic on Celtics’ ‘Best Player’

Boston Celtics players Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum shake hands

Maybe it was just gamesmanship, but with Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals just a day away, Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd let the mic drop when asked about Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown.

“Well, Jaylen’s their best player,” Kidd declares.

“Just looking at what he does defensively,” Kidd continues. “He picked up Luka full court. Got to the free throw line. He did everything and that’s what your best player does.”

“Just understanding, he plays both sides —defense and offense —at a high rate. He’s been doing that the whole playoffs. When you talk about the Eastern Conference MVP, it seems like he’s continued to pick up (sic) where he left off. So he’s playing at a high rate.”

Jason Kidd Drops the Mic on Celtics’ ‘Best Player’

As a Hall of Fame point guard who’s won over 350 games since transitioning to the coaching side, Kidd’s words hold a lot of weight. While most people aren’t going to agree with him, Brown’s production, skills, and upwards trajectory have been undeniable. To his point, Brown’s also been Boston’s most steady two-way presence this postseason.

Offense

Averaging 24.8 points per game on 54.3 percent shooting from the field and 36.6 percent from 3, he’s undeniably outplayed Jayson Tatum at that end. Tatum’s averaging a team-high 25.3 points per game this postseason, but shooting just 43.8 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from 3.

There’s more to offense, like facilitating, and this is where Tatum has an edge. Averaging 5.9 assists per game to Brown’s 2.6 assists per game, his playmaking impact is significantly high than his running mate’s. Nonetheless, Tatum’s inefficiency has been hard to overlook. To that point, in Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals, Tatum went 3-7 from 3 but struggled to convert his 2s. Not only did he shoot 33.3 percent (3-9) from inside the arc, he only took two free-throws.

Speaking of free-throws, Kidd could be trying to bait Brown with his comments about his ability to get to the line. After all, while Brown scored 22 points in Game 1, he went 5-11 at the charity stripe. In fact, he’s shooting 61.9 percent from the free-throw line this postseason. That said, he can get players into foul trouble, even if he doesn’t convert his freebies. Ultimately, that makes his ability to generate fouls beneficial in and of itself.

Defense

At the other end, Brown does regularly take on tough matchups, and does well when doing so. Whether in one-on-one matchups, chasing defenders, or making plays in the passing lanes, he’s a difference-maker. Kidd’s had plenty of chances to see that before, but in Game 1 he saw Brown do some of his best work, the 27-year-old finishing the game with three steals and three blocks. It was his fifth game this postseason with multiple steals.

Tatum’s physical tools and technique make him a solid defender, but he’s not as reliable or effective as Brown.

Checking Their Egos

The Celtics do have to be careful not to let Kidd’s words get into their heads. As it so often happens. Boston’s togetherness has been key to their dominance. Therefore, divisions must be sealed, and egos silenced.

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