Yes, Kevin Durant is one of the most prolific basketball scorers of all time. Yes, he’s still a top-3 player in the league, despite being 33-years-old. I mean, he averaged 29.9 points per game on a 63.4 true shooting percentage. That’s incredible.
Trading for Kevin Durant would undoubtedly put the Celtics over the edge for the 2022-23 season. However, questions remain — lots of them. At the center of the conversation: Jaylen Brown.
For years, the Celtics have built the team around the now 24-year-old Jayson Tatum and 25-year-old Brown. Both are athletic, supremely skilled on both ends of the court, and most importantly young. Young, athletic wings are the NBA’s hottest commodity right now, and the Celtics have two of the best. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant will turn 34 on September 29th.
Aside from Tatum and Brown, a plethora of core pieces haven’t even reached their 30’s — Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Grant Williams, Derrick White, and Malcolm Brogdon. With that, and the fact that the Celtics still have multiple first-round picks after 2023, the team is poised to compete for a championship for many, many years.
Chemistry, togetherness, and continuity are all important when pursuing a championship, too. Fortunately, the Celtics established something incredibly special culture-wise post-January, and Brown helped lead the way.
Individually, on the court, Brown is a budding star. He averaged 23.6 points per game last season. The year before that, Brown averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game and was an All-Star. He dropped 50 points against the Magic on January 2nd. He also poured in 34 points in Game 6 of the 2022 Finals.
Defensively, Brown has a career 1.6 steal-percentage and a 1.1 block-percentage, two statistics that don’t really showcase Brown’s high-level defensive ability. He’s great on-ball, he’s great off-ball. He was an influential component of the Celtics defensive powerhouse and helped stop the league’s best scorer in the first round — Kevin Durant.
Overall, Brown is a great two-way player. He’s athletic. He can score. He can shoot. He can defend. He’s great all-around. But, the most important reason to hold onto Brown is this: he wants to be in Boston. And that’s even with all the trade discussions.
According to The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, Brown wants to be a Celtic and continue building a championship team. He wants to win a raise a banner in Boston. With that, the front office should let Brown see it through to the end.
There’s too much upside, too long of a window, and too much dedication from the Brown-led Celtics to give up on. Even with the enticing opportunity to trade for one of this generation’s greatest players in Kevin Durant, the Celtics should stay the course, with Jaylen Brown as a cornerstone.