Rolling Out

2 wins away from title, Jaylen Brown still dodging Tatum debate

Star wants to keep focus on the team
Jaylen Brown
(Photo by Rashad Milligan for rolling out) Boston Celtics guard/forward Jaylen Brown warms up at shoot around in Philips Arena on Nov. 18, 2017.

Jaylen Brown doesn’t want to discuss the best player on the team questions. At least not yet.

The Boston Celtics star forward has led his team to the first two wins of this year’s NBA Finals. Within the series, the long-standing debate has returned to the public: Who is the best player on the team? Since 2017, the Celtics have been led by the 1-2 punch of Brown and Jayson Tatum, with many fans arguing Tatum is better. However, on nights when Brown outperforms Tatum, many fans claim the metro Atlanta native is better. On the media side, Ma$e, co-host of “It Is What It Is” has consistently stated that Brown is the team’s best player and is the main key to their success.

The debate returned to one of the series’ main storylines when Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd called Brown Boston’s best player.

“We’ve been extremely focused on what our roles and our jobs are,” Brown said. “We’ve all had to sacrifice. Jayson has had to do that at the highest of levels … right now, it’s about whatever it takes to win. We can’t let any outside interpretations try to get between that.”

On the other hand, Tatum didn’t even want to address Kidd’s comment.

“No reaction,” Tatum said. “This is a team sport. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have JB on our team … people try to drive a wedge between us. It’s a smart thing to do or try to do.”

Celtics guard Jrue Holiday also wanted to clarify his comment that he agrees with the claim that Brown is the team’s best player.

“I’ve been hearing I prefer JB over JT, and that’s not what that was,” Holiday said. “I like to praise my teammates when they’re playing well, and I feel like that’s what I did my best to do … to compare them is something I’ll never do because they’re two completely different players.”

Shaquille O’Neal told Brown in a postgame interview not to “get fixated on useless titles” because he’s “got to do what he’s got to do and get it done.”

When Matt Winer asked Brown if he understood O’Neal, Brown said, “No.” O’Neal then compared the Brown and Tatum debate to his and Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers.

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