Jaylen Brown’s Surprise MVP Win: A Testament to His Growth and Dedication

Jaylen Brown's Surprise MVP Win A Testament to His Growth and Dedication

INDIANAPOLIS — Jaylen Brown was taken aback when he heard his name announced as the Eastern Conference finals MVP. His teammates and coaches began congratulating him, but he remained expressionless, much like after a poster dunk or game-winning 3-pointer. Brown has often felt overlooked, and his coach has encouraged him to shed those expectations.

When Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell declared him the MVP, Brown needed a moment to grasp the honor. He then exclaimed, “Oh s—.” Brown admitted, “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I don’t never win s—.” But he was thrilled that the Celtics had triumphed, securing a spot in the NBA Finals with a 105-102 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Brown’s humble reaction endeared him to his teammates, as he consistently prioritizes team success over personal accolades. Jrue Holiday said, “I think it’s even better because he didn’t expect it. That really means that (it) didn’t matter to him. It was about winning.”

In high-pressure moments, Brown remains calm. He has delivered numerous clutch shots for the Celtics, including a crucial one in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to force overtime. However, his MVP award was not solely for his scoring. Brown earned his second NBA Finals appearance by excelling in defense and playmaking.

When faced with a challenging switch, Brown pursued and blocked Andrew Nembhard’s shot. He then initiated a play, looking to pass to Jayson Tatum before realizing he had to drive. As head coach Joe Mazzulla instructed Tatum to create space and Holiday to engage Myles Turner, Brown collapsed the defense, enabling him to pass the ball.

Jayson Tatum described the play as “special,” reflecting the team’s commitment to do whatever it takes to advance. Two years ago, Holiday often defended Brown during the Celtics’ Finals run. This time, Holiday set a screen for Brown, a development resulting from Brown’s dedicated practice.

The Celtics’ loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Finals motivated Brown to improve. He now spends time after every practice honing pick-and-roll scenarios with coaches. Last year, he focused on left-handed skip passes, and this year, he’s worked on handling double teams and adjusting to different coverages.

Coaches even simulate challenging situations, such as passing through tight spaces or dealing with aggressive fouls. Brown’s hard work paid off in the final minute, as he fought through contact, regained his dribble, and found White open for a 3-pointer.

White praised Brown’s growth, saying, “I knew he was unreal when I got here, but the great thing about JB is he’s gotten better every single year that he’s been in this league.” Brown’s improvement was particularly evident in his defensive skills, which he prioritized after the Celtics traded Marcus Smart last summer.

Brown embraced a leadership role, ensuring that everyone understood the team’s standards. The Celtics maintained a positive atmosphere throughout the season, with players prioritizing defense and teamwork. Brown’s commitment to the team was clear: “I thought everybody (was) accountable. And this is the byproduct.”

Despite not being selected for the All-NBA team, Brown remained focused on his goal of making an All-Defensive team. He wanted to redefine himself as a player, recognizing that scoring alone would not lead to a championship. The Celtics’ loss to Miami in Game 7 last year reinforced the importance of defense and ball control.

Brown sought out challenging matchups, aiming to make life difficult for his opponents. Although he did not make the All-Defensive team, he continued to make a significant defensive impact in the series. Al Horford praised Brown’s versatility, which has been a key factor in the team’s success.

Brown has become more outspoken, expressing his goals and opinions. He is determined to stand up for his beliefs, even if it means missing out on opportunities or awards. After recent comments about his marketability, Brown reaffirmed his commitment to authenticity.

Brown’s MVP win is a testament to his growth, dedication, and team-first mentality. As the Celtics prepare for the NBA Finals, they can rely on Brown to rise to the occasion and make a lasting impact on both ends of the court.


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