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When I labelled Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum the Jay-Team early in the season, I had no inkling that either would end up this good. Jayson blew us away with his Rookie-of-the-Year candidate performance, and Jaylen just progressed well beyond what was expected. That is why ESPN's Zach Lowe is asking the question, "What if (Jaylen) Brown is on a path to becoming the next Kawhi Leonard?"

Tatum has become as close to untouchable in trade talks as Danny Ainge's trading propensity allows. His stardom seems near-certain. Brown's situation is a bit different. He saw limited floor time and had only moderate production in his rookie season and then had a very successful sophomore season. We still don't know what his ceiling is.

Jaylen certainly possesses the physical tools. Without question, he has the size, length and athleticism to excel. He seems to still be learning how to employ that athleticism to the team's advantage. He needs to become a better passer and free throw shooter to raise his ceiling to All-Star level. Could he become the next Kawhi Leonard? I wouldn't bet against it!

Tatum has often been involved in speculative trade discussions surrounding the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard. That was never going to happen. The Jaylen-for-Kawhi discussions are not well-based for the most part. We know Leonard is a superstar two-way player with enormous talent. What we don't know is just how bad his quad injury is - or frankly even what it is. And like so many stars, he seems to have a real fondness for Los Angeles as his next destination. Too many questions.

The questions about Jaylen are generally positive ones. How good can he be? Will he continue to improve in his third season? This is how ESPN's Zach Lowe summarized the Brown/Leonard controversy:

If everything lines up right -- and only then -- Leonard is good enough, and still young enough, that you probably hold your nose and deal Brown in exchange. If anything about Leonard feels off or unknowable, Boston can sit tight and feel fine. Brown is that intriguing.


It is refreshing not to see Jaylen in the above, or other, trade proposals. For a Brown-for-Leonard trade to happen, many factors would have to - as Lowe puts it - line up. It goes beyond the injury/LA questions. So the chances that everything lines up are slim indeed. "Sitting tight and feeling fine" with Jaylen on our roster seems like the way to go. As Lowe writes, he is that intriguing. I would hate to break up the Jay-Team.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via John Wilcox/Boston Herald

Tom Lane 6/21/2018 12:50:00 PM Edit
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