The Celtics will be watching the postseason award results closely this spring because they could have a substantial impact on the franchise’s future. If Jaylen Brown is named to one of the three All-NBA teams, he will become eligible to sign a super-max extension with the Celtics worth about $290 million over five years.
Even though Brown has voiced some unease about his long-term future in Boston this season, it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which he would decline such a massive offer. No NBA player has ever turned down a super-max extension.
Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens made one final stump speech on Brown’s behalf, declaring that the All-Star forward deserves All-NBA recognition.
“He’s really played his best basketball, I think, in the last couple of months, and he was an obvious All-Star right out of the gate,” Stevens said. “So it tells you where he’s been.
“I think he’s doing a great job of obviously scoring the ball, scoring when we need it. But we asked him to do a lot defensively. And we asked him, along with Jayson [Tatum], to read a lot of pretty intense coverages with extra bodies flying at them, with extra bodies shifted over to them.
“We’re unique, because we have those two guys who are just amazing young players and they really accentuate our role players, but then we’ve got a group of role players that really accentuate them. And so I think that they deserve to be on that team.
“And Jaylen in particular, I thought, has really had a great run here.”
Not quite there yet
Brown remained sidelined during Tuesday’s practice as he recovers from a hand laceration, but coach Joe Mazzulla said he remains on track to return to practice Thursday or Friday and will be cleared to play in Game 1 of the playoffs Saturday. Brown suffered the injury, which required five stitches, when he cut his hand on a glass vase at his home … Guard Marcus Smart, who missed the last three games of the regular season while dealing with a pinched nerve in his neck, was a full participant at Tuesday’s practice. “He’s good,” Mazzulla said. “He’s ramped up. He was great today in practice, went live. He said he felt good, so he’ll be ready to go.”
Don’t pass on shot
Last week, Mazzulla stressed that the Celtics would like center Robert Williams to be more of a force on offense during the playoffs. When he catches the ball with a foot in the paint, Mazzulla said, he should look to score. On Tuesday, Williams said that directive has been passed along to him several times, with Mazzulla even shouting an expletive at him during a recent game in which he turned down an easy opportunity in the post. “I love to pass the ball,” Williams said. “That’s my job. I love passing, I guess I could say that. But there are times we do need those easy two seals or two dunks a game to take pressure off our scorers.”
Keep it simple
Even though this will be Mazzulla’s first postseason as a head coach, he said the experience he gained working under Stevens and Ime Udoka over the previous four seasons has helped his comfort level. “As big as this is, I still think it comes down to the most simple of details,” he said. “Through all those playoff series I’ve been in, as much as it was about sub patterns and matchups, it was also about not sending guys to the free throw line, sprinting back in transition, getting more shots than your opponent, rebounding the basketball. All those things I think you have to do the little things at a higher intensity while being ready to adjust.”