Jaylen Brown Has 290 Million Reasons to Keep Up His Sizzling Pace

Jayson Tatum gets much of the credit for the success of the Boston Celtics — and rightfully so. The three-time NBA All-Star is a leading candidate for MVP as Boston has raced out to a red-hot start with the NBA’s best record. Jaylen Brown is quietly doing his part, too.

While Tatum gets the headlines, Brown gets the job done. In his seventh NBA season, Brown is having his best year, averaging career-highs in scoring (27.0) and rebounds (7.0). He has plenty of incentive to keep up the pace.

Jaylen Brown could secure a max deal with an All-NBA selection

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics dribbles by O.G. Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on December 5, 2022, in Toronto, Canada. | Cole Burston/Getty Images.

Brown and Tatum have developed into the NBA’s top duo. The two led the Celtics to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010 after a strong second-half surge to cap the regular season.

The Celtics picked up right where they left off last year, jumping out to a league-best 20-5 record after Monday night’s win over the Toronto Raptors. While Tatum is putting up career-high numbers in scoring at 30.7 points, Brown is not too far behind.

Tatum’s numbers have him as the front-runner in the early race for MVP. According to NBA.com, Tatum entered the week No. 1 on the Kia MVP rankings, ahead of Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Look a little bit further down the list, and you’ll see Brown.

Brown was listed at No. 10 in the Kia MVP rankings after his strong start to the season. If Brown keeps up his strong play, he’d be in line to receive a max extension. If Brown makes any of the three All-NBA teams this year, he could cash in. It won’t be easy. There are 15 spots, but the teams are named by position. Brown would have to be one of the top six guards in the game, and that is challenging. Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic are automatics. The same could be said for Ja Morant and Devin Booker. Then you have Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and the field gets a little crowded.

According to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports, that extension could pay Brown roughly $290 million over five seasons, depending on where the cap lands for the 2024-25 campaign. He could command a first-year salary starting at 35 percent of whatever the cap is.

Brown isn’t getting caught up in the future

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Brown knows what’s on the line. He also knows that personal accolades will come with team success. The Celtics are nearly a third of the way through the season and have lost just five times.

Brown’s focus isn’t on the personal numbers. He wants to help bring the Celtics back to the NBA Finals, where they came up short to the Golden State Warriors a year ago.

“I love to play this game, and I work hard, and I improve,” Brown said, per NBC Sports. “To get caught up in accolades and how people feel and the politics of the game, it’s not really my concern. I want to get to the playoffs, and I want to show what I can do there.”

Brown is confident in his ability. He knows he can be an elite player in the NBA, but winning is what drives him the most.

“I think I can play with the best of them,” he said. “I know what my capabilities are. But my emphasis right now is on winning games and leading this team back to the Finals. So that’s where my point of emphasis is. Anything else that comes along, whatever. But I’m really focused on getting us back to the NBA Finals.”