Some NBA rookies might balk at defending LeBron James immediately after he dropped 38 points on 14-of-24 shooting with you and others taking turns guarding him. Not Jaylen Brown, though.
Following the Boston Celtics’ 117-104 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the newbie made it clear he’ll embrace the opportunity to continue defending LeBron, in addition to, if the team needs it, the waterboy:
Jaylen Brown: "I’m going to be ready to guard whoever. If it’s the waterboy, I’m guarding him, too." pic.twitter.com/bvgFHyFixa
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) May 18, 2017
This feels like the perfect amount of confidence. It’s not as ridiculous as then-Detroit Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson saying he lives inside LeBron’s head, but it’s forceful enough to emanate confidence and a strong front.
It’s also why Brown should probably start for the Celtics in Game 2.
Brown was all over the place when in the game on Wednesday night. The Celtics need that. LeBron still exploited him at points, but Brown has the athleticism and smarts to pester him as well as anyone else on the roster. At least if he’s taking on this assignment, Boston can focus its other efforts on taking as many of LeBron’s castmates out of the equation as possible.
In the end, it most likely won’t matter. LeBron is on another level right now. And while trying to make him beat you on his own feels like a good idea, it’s hardly a convenient one. It’s more like the lesser of two indomitable evils.