There are chemistry issues with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, says longtime NBA reporter Jeff Goodman.
On an interview Monday with OMF, Goodman said it’s apparent the Celtics’ two young All-Stars don’t play well together. One of the reasons may be their lack of a connection off the court.
“They’re not buddies,” Goodman said. “They like each other, but they don’t hang out off the court. I don’t want to say it’s clear watching them on the court, because there are plenty of guys — Glenn knows this better than anybody, were Larry Bird and Kevin McHale buddies? No — but it looked like they were buddies on the court.”
That’s not the case with Tatum and Brown, who failed this season to lead the Celtics through a deep playoff run. While Brown’s wrist injury didn’t help matters, the Celtics lost their chance to make a run long before that. Multiple losses to the dregs of the league — Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and Oklahoma City — sunk them to a .500 record. The Celtics only qualified for the playoffs after defeating the Wizards in a play-in game.
For months, the Celtics have been linked to Washington All-Star Bradley Beal, who maintains a close bond with Tatum, his fellow St. Louis native. Goodman says the C’s should explore swapping the two.
“That’s like Tatum’s older brother. They’re so tight,” Goodman said. “I think Bradley Beal is also a player who’s a high IQ player in terms of his decision making. If you put the ball and play through Bradley Beal and he has players around him, he can average seven assists per game. I’m fully convinced of that. That’s not Jaylen Brown.”
Though Brown averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game this season, he wasn’t a facilitator, only averaging 3.4 assists per contest. Quite simply, he’s not making the players around him better, including Tatum.
“When he and Tatum go on the court, it looks like they never played basketball together before,” Goodman said.
Brad Stevens created more flexibility by unloading Kemba Walker. Now we’ll see how bold he gets. Goodman is calling for a shakeup.