ESPN NBA analyst JJ Redick renewed his rivalry with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Wednesday, getting into a heated debate over Jaylen Brown on First Take. In earning his first All-NBA selection this season, the Boston Celtics star now qualifies for a five-year, $295-million “supermax” extension. That’s a financial obligation complicated by his concerning Eastern Conference Finals performance, particularly in Monday night’s Game 7.

With Jayson Tatum slowed by an ankle injury suffered on the game’s first play, Boston needed Brown to step up. But unfortunately, he couldn’t meet the moment, embarrassing himself to the tune of eight turnovers in a season-ending loss to the Finals-bound Miami Heat.

While letting recency bias determine the trajectory of a player’s career is probably shortsighted analysis, Russo understandably has his doubts about Brown. He views the embattled 26-year-old as a mere sidekick to the vastly superior (at least in his mind) Tatum. After Russo rattled off, in rapid succession, 20 players he would take before Brown, Redick had to interject, seizing on the hypocrisy of Mad Dog ranking injury-prone Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard ahead of Brown.

“You are the absolute worst. The fact that you put Kawhi, Paul George and Kyrie on that list ahead of Jaylen Brown when all you do is complain about their availability? Stop it, man,” said an exasperated Redick, holding Russo accountable for moving the goal posts to accommodate his narrative. “I’m not debating whether or not those guys are more talented than Jaylen Brown, but Jaylen Brown plays. You can’t have it both ways, buddy.”

Brown may not have looked like a $295-million player throughout these playoffs, though pairing him with Tatum still gives Boston its best chance to win a title. That’s particularly true if the Celtics add a more experienced coach to either mentor or replace Joe Mazzulla on the sidelines next season. Of course, there’s growing sentiment that Brown—still resentful of being the subject of trade rumors last offseason—may himself desire a change of scenery, preferring to reinvent himself elsewhere after years spent in Tatum’s shadow.


About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.