Jason Kidd Called Jaylen Brown The Celtics ‘Best Player’ And Explained Why

The Boston Celtics thumped the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, as Boston reminded everyone why they spent the entire season with the league’s best record. The Celtics caught fire in the first quarter and ran out to a 17-point lead that they never relinquished, eventually cruising to a 107-89 win.

While the offense impressed early, with Kristaps Porzingis providing a huge lift off the bench in his return after more than a month out with a calf injury, it was their defense that suffocated the Mavs and led them to the win. Going into Game 2, Dallas has to figure out how to get more out of their offense, as Luka Doncic was the only one that produced much of anything, as Boston seemed happy to let him try to score rather than be a facilitator.

The Mavs seemingly face an uphill challenge, and they might need some help from Boston to get this series level going back to Dallas. The good news is, this Celtics squad has been known to have a letdown in Game 2 (they’ve twice lost a Game 2 in this postseason) and Jason Kidd seems to be looking to do his part to create a bit of internal discord on the Boston side. On Saturday, Kidd was asked about the challenge that Jaylen Brown presents in this series, and he promptly explained why he feels Brown is Boston’s best player.

“Well, Jaylen’s their best player,” Kidd said, matter of factly. “So just looking at what he does defensively, he picked up Luka full court. He got to the free throw line. He did everything. And that’s what your best player does. Just understanding, he plays both sides, defense and offense, at a high rate and he’s been doing that the whole playoffs. When you talk about the Eastern Conference [Finals] MVP, and it seems like he’s continued to pick up where he left off. He’s continued to play at a high rate, we’ve just got to be a little bit more physical with him and, again, we’ve got to keep him off the free throw line and out of the paint.”

Jayson Tatum is typically regarded as the Celtics best player, with Brown carrying a sizable chip on his shoulder, feeling often overlooked in the discussion of stars in the NBA — this year he finished 16th in All-NBA voting, missing out on the third-team by one spot. This is on the surface level a compliment from Kidd, but it certainly feels like a calculated play (with some plausible deniability) to see if he can play into the rumblings that there’s at least a hint of jealousy and competition between the two Boston stars.

As many in Boston will tell you, that is a creation of people on the outside, and Brown and Tatum don’t just get along professionally but are friends off the court. I don’t anticipate this comment from Kidd suddenly tanking the Celtics and creating a rift between their stars, but I also can’t fault him for at least trying to play some mind games, because the Mavs need to get Boston off of their game a bit in any way they can.