Smith was asked on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday whether the Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum duo is still capable of bringing a title to Boston. His take: The relative youth of Boston’s two stars gives them plenty of time to still grow into a championship-caliber duo.
“Jaylen Brown is 26 years old. Jayson Tatum is 25. You’re not going to get me to look at two dudes, one averaging 30 in Tatum and another averaging 26 in Jaylen Brown at this age … as a finished product,” Smith said. “These guys can still soar if they want to.”
That caveat at the end from Smith focused on Brown, as Smith went on to question Brown’s “want-to factor.”
“Are you accepting and embracing the fact that you ain’t Jayson Tatum? You understand that that is our guy, that is the superstar on this team … are you good with that?” Smith said. “If the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’… I have no problem moving forward with those two.”
Brown’s role will continue to come into question after a disastrous Game 7 that saw him commit eight turnovers and shoot just 8-of-23 from the field. In the series as a whole, Brown shot just 7-of-43 from downtown. That performance has created questions over whether Brown can coexist with Tatum on a title-winning team, but Smith still says he’s not sure there’s a team in the East clearly ahead of Boston next year.
“We can’t look at any team and definitively say they’re better than the Boston Celtics and they would take them out next year and beyond with those two dudes on this squad if they’re committed to playing together.”