Only two teams have reached the Eastern Conference Finals more than once over the past four seasons. The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, and your very own Boston Celtics.
Why is this relevant now, with the Celtics languishing towards another .500 season? Well, the mediocre play over the last year and a half has caused desperation to sink in with some of the Celtics fan base questioning the path forward with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the team. Which brings about renewed calls to “trade Brown” or “split up the Jays.”
Boston Herald Celtics Reporter Mark Murphy – who joined Adam Kaufman and Evan Valenti on the most recent episode of the Celtics Beat Podcast on CLNS Media – thinks making a move now would be very premature.
“All this experience (these guys have playing together) it’s invaluable,” Murphy said. “Why would you cut that short now? It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Bad as the Celtics had been over the past two years, not all of that can be pinned on Tatum and Brown. Since the start of the 2019-20 season the Celtics are 79-52 when both stars are on the floor. That number drops to 42-37 since the start of the 2020-21 season, the year that Brown and Tatum were the clear focal points of the team.
Trading one and potentially trying find an equivalent player through the draft isn’t easy. Of the six All-Stars to come out of the top-five picks since 2016, two of them are Celtics, Brown and Tatum both picked #3 overall in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The problem is, building around the Jays has proven difficult over the past couple of seasons as the Celtics have seen more talent walk out the door than come in. What Murphy believes the team needs desperately is someone to complement Tatum and Brown, not replace them.
“You have the potential to bring in a significant number 3 to them,” Murphy told Kaufman and Valenti. “You don’t need a top level scorer. Maybe a shooting big.”
And if you do that. If you get the Jays some help, Murphy believes for Tatum and Brown the best is yet to come.
“I think what you have to hang your hat on is, those two guys together going forward has been a longer growth process than anybody, [Danny] Ainge included, imagined. But I think you’re going to see the greatest growth from now on. Jayson Tatum is going to be a top-5 player in this league. And Jaylen Brown maybe top 10, maybe he can get there.”