Boston Celtics

Payton Pritchard sounds off on Jaylen Brown's All-NBA snub

"He definitely deserves to be on there."

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The Boston Celtics have some extra motivation entering Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and it has nothing to do with what's happened in the series to date.

The league announced the 2023-24 All-NBA teams Wednesday night, and while Jayson Tatum made First-Team All-NBA for the third straight year, Jaylen Brown was noticeably absent. Despite improving in several statistical categories and making great strides on defense this season after earning Second-Team All-NBA honors in 2022-23, Brown just missed the cut for Third Team, receiving the most votes of any player outside the top 15.

At least one his teammates views that result as an injustice.

"JB, that was a snub for sure," guard Payton Pritchard told reporters Thursday at Boston's shootaround ahead of Game 2. "I don’t understand how you can be the No. 1 team by a wide margin and only have one dude on that.

"JB’s been terrific all year, two-way player, so he definitely deserves to be on there."

Pritchard sticking up for his teammate certainly isn't surprising, but he raises a fair question about how much team success should be factored into All-NBA selections. Brown's scoring average dipped 3.6 points from 2022-23 (26.6 per game) to 2023-24 (23.0 per game), but he also averaged 3.7 fewer shots per contest in a loaded starting five that included newcomers Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.

Brown found other ways to impact winning -- from increasing his scoring efficiency and playmaking ability to taking on opposing stars on defense -- and was a big reason why the Celtics rolled to a 64-18 record, which was at least seven games better than every other team. But Brown's statistical sacrifices appear to have cost him an All-NBA nod, while two teams that got bounced in the first round each landed two players on the All-NBA teams -- LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Kevin Durant and Devin Booker for the Phoenix Suns.

The Celtics clearly have prioritized winning over personal accolades this season, and it's paid off handsomely. They're three wins away from their second NBA Finals berth in three seasons and are the current favorites to win their first championship since 2008.

It may feel like Boston's players and staffers are getting overlooked, with no individual award winners outside Brad Stevens (Executive of the Year), just one All-NBA player (Tatum) and just two All-Defense honorees (Derrick White and Jrue Holiday) for a team with the league's second-best defensive rating. But if the Celtics can cap this season by raising Banner 18, those individual sacrifices will all be worthwhile.

Game 2 of Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers is set for Thursday at 8 p.m. ET at TD Garden, with NBC Sports Boston's pregame coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live.

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