Jaylen Brown and his Boston Celtics teammates are fully focused on making another deep playoff run.
But it'd be hard for Brown to ignore his push to make All-NBA, especially given the contract ramifications.
If Brown makes one of three five-man All-NBA Teams in 2023, he'd be eligible to receive a five-year, $ 290 million "supermax" contract extension from the Celtics this offseason -- a full $ 100 million more than the four-year, $ 190 million contract Boston could offer Brown if he doesn't make All-NBA.
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So, as much as Brown can try to downplay individual accolades, he realizes the importance of making his own All-NBA case.
"I like to concern myself less with what others think, but now you get put into these moments and it’s like you don’t have a choice," Brown recently told The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn. "[Bleep] it, I’m campaigning for myself."
Brown has a campaign pitch prepared -- and it's a pretty strong one.
"I think I’m more than deserving. This is the second-best team in the league. I’ve played nothing but winning basketball, helped lead my team and I’m in the [top] 10 in scoring and I’m efficient. I guess you look at the criteria and I think I more than meet it. We’ve dominated for the most part of the season. I’ve been available. What more do people want? But it’s out of my control."
The stats support Brown's comments; the 26-year-old finished ninth in the NBA in scoring (26.6 points per game) while shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the floor. His 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game both were career highs as well, and he's also an elite defender who played 67 games for the second-best team in basketball.
Brown's All-NBA case could come down to whether he's eligible as a guard or forward, as he'd have an easier time making the Third Team as a forward. But the fact that he's been one of the game's best two-way players on one of the league's best teams gives him a pretty compelling argument.
Brown isn't stumping on his own, either, as C's president of basketball operations Brad Stevens made the case for his All-Star on Sunday.
"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," Stevens told reporters. "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. So, I think that they deserve to be on that (All-NBA) team, and Jaylen in particular, I thought has really had a great run here."
The league won't reveal All-NBA teams until June, so for now, Brown and the C's can devote their efforts toward their first-round matchup with either the Miami Heat or Atlanta Hawks.