NBA Player of the Week: Jaylen Brown

Celtics' Star Surprisingly Won Eastern Conference Finals MVP

Jaylen Brown Stats

Full Name:
Jaylen Brown
Current Team:
Boston Celtics
Celtics Number:
27 years old (10-24-1996)
198 cm
United States
Shooting Guard and Small Forward

It’s tough to have a better week than Jaylen Brown just did. His Boston Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers in four games to win the Eastern Conference Finals and advance to the NBA Finals against either the Dallas Mavericks or Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Boston star was named Eastern Conference Finals MVP ahead of his higher-profile teammate Jayson Tatum. It was a well-deserved honor based on Jaylen Brown’s stats against Indiana, yet it was surprising based on his odds to win it even during the clinching Game 4.

Brown was only +500 to win ECF MVP before the series, with Tatum as the big favorite. What’s really interesting is that Tatum was -170 to win MVP before Game 4, -800 in the first quarter, and -2100 at halftime. Of course, those odds were all from before Brown carried the Celtics on his back down the stretch against Indiana, finishing with 29 points on 11-for-22 shooting with his trademark stellar defense. While not the best player on the Boston Celtics roster, he may be the most important.

He averaged 29.8 points on 52/37/65 shooting against Indiana, with five rebounds and three assists per game. Those free throw numbers are ugly, but Brown more than made up for it with his efficiency from the field and his clutch shooting, exemplified by the incredibly clutch three-pointer he made at the end of regulation in Game 1 to send it to overtime (which Boston won). That set the tone for the series, with the Pacers blowing late leads and the Celtics making big shots when they needed to.

Brown Is A Great Counterpart to Tatum

A big reason why the Celtics are so good is not just because of Jaylen Brown’s stats but because he has become adept at doing the things that Tatum struggles with. When Tatum gets three-pointer-happy, which is common, Brown can use his athletic ability and size to get to the basket. When Tatum gets lazy on defense, often during periods when his shot isn’t falling, Brown can step up and use his length to defend the opposing team’s best player.

So, it only made sense that when Tatum struggled against Indiana, Brown would be there to clean things up and help out. Boston would obviously prefer that both of them play well at the same time, but in the playoffs, things rarely play out as you would like them to.

Brown is a pretty great second option, not to mention having Jrue Holiday and (if he can get healthy) Kristaps Porzingis with Al Horford as a reliable veteran. Brown won’t be considered one of the best NBA players, especially with Tatum as his teammate, but he’s a very solid one.

It also says a lot about the Celtics that their No. 2 option can take home the prestigious honor of ECF MVP and the, fittingly named, Larry Bird Trophy. If you were to tell Celtics fans that Brown would be hoisting up that trophy, they probably would have thought that Tatum got hurt or that Brown somehow won in a losing effort for Boston. Of course, it turns out that he just stepped up when the Celtics — who were outplayed for a vast majority of this season — needed him the most.

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Has Decent Odds To Repeat As Finals MVP

While we still don’t know for sure who the Celtics will be facing in the NBA Finals, Brown is only +550 to win Finals MVP with Tatum at -110, Luka Doncic at +275 and Anthony Edwards at +1400. Jaylen Brown’s stats alone might not be enough for him to win the award even if he’s outscoring Tatum as the Celtics bring home their first title since 2009; Brown will also need to make big plays on defense and outshine Tatum in the biggest moments of games. None of those will be easy tasks.

But, at +550, that’s a lot of respect for a team’s second option when the first option is a superstar like Tatum. Clearly, Vegas (and the general betting public) was thoroughly impressed by how Brown worked to keep the Celtics from folding in all of the Eastern Conference Finals‘ clutch moments. He’s never going to be an incredible three-point shooter or ball-handler and his free throw shooting is concerning, yet NBA prop bets on Brown are smart because he’s a better offensive player than he seems to get credit for.

Plus, he’ll be able to benefit from how much attention opposing teams need to give to Tatum at all times. The floor might be a bit more open against Dallas than against Minnesota but, either way, Brown at +550 is really good value. If he can keep up his level of play from the ECF, then Brown has a legitimate chance at winning the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy — named after another Celtics legend. Brown has long lived in the shadow of Tatum but that could change based on how they both play in the Finals and whether or not this Celtics group will finally be able to get over the hump.

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