fb-pixelJayson Tatum voted an All-Star starter for the first time, but Jaylen Brown denied - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
CELTICS

Jayson Tatum voted an All-Star starter for the first time, but Jaylen Brown denied

An injury replacement in the starting lineup the last two seasons, Jayson Tatum earned a starting spot of his own for the first time this season.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum on Thursday was named a starter for next month’s NBA All-Star game. Although he started the game for the last two seasons as a fill-in for an injured starter, this is the first time in the 24-year-old’s career that he has been voted into the starting lineup.

Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, meanwhile, was not selected as a backcourt starter.

Fans accounted for half of the vote, with players and a media panel making up one quarter apiece. Tatum finished third in the fan vote, first in the media vote, and fourth in the player vote, giving him a 2.75 point weighted score that put him third among Eastern Conference frontcourt players behind Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (1.25) and Nets forward Kevin Durant (2.5).

Advertisement



Brown finished second in the media vote, but third in the player and fan votes, leaving him with a 2.75 point weighted score. Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell had 1.75 apiece.

Tatum is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season. He entered Thursday night’s game against the Knicks averaging 31 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game, and he has helped Boston to the best record in the NBA.

“I think he’s deserving, more than deserving,” coach Joe Mazzulla said about an hour before the starters were announced. “I think for me, personally, everybody talks about his basketball skills. People don’t talk about how good of a person he is, and he’s a great person. That means a lot to me and I want people to know that about him. We’re able to do what we do as a team because he’s one of the cornerstones, because of who he is.”

Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James were selected as captains. They will select their teams prior to the Feb. 19 game. The reserves, which will be chosen by the coaches, will be announced next week.

Advertisement



Brown is averaging 26.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game after Thursday’s loss to the Knicks.

Preaching patience with Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained right ankle. Smart suffered the injury during the second quarter of the win over the Raptors last Saturday. He said on Tuesday that he expects to be out for another week or two.

“He’s getting the swelling down right now, wearing a sock, just to eliminate the swelling a little bit,” Mazzulla said. “But we’re just being patient with it. Obviously it’s something he’s had before, something we don’t want to aggravate. He’s working to come back, and when he can, he will.”

Smart sustained the injury in Saturday's game against Toronto.Frank Gunn/Associated Press

Smart said he aggravated the ankle injury he suffered during last season’s Eastern Conference finals against the Heat.

“He’s done such a great job this year of dictating our pace,” Mazzulla said. “He’s done such a good job of finding guys in cross-matches in transition, creating cross-matches in transition with and without the ball, and then recognizing where the matchup is and being able to attack. Our offense is really, really organized in the first six seconds because of him so we’re definitely missing that.”

The Celtics did welcome back Malcolm Brogdon, who missed the last two games due to personal reasons, as well as Brown (adductor management) and Al Horford (back management), who sat out Tuesday’s game against the Heat.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him @adamhimmelsbach.