Why Jayson Tatum lost out on the NBA Finals MVP award

Both Tatum and Brown showcased their prowess throughout the series, each contributing significantly to the Celtics’ success. Tatum’s performances were marked by his scoring ability and versatility, consistently putting up big numbers across points, rebounds, and assists. Meanwhile, Brown excelled as a dynamic scorer with high efficiency, complementing Tatum’s contributions with impactful performances in scoring, rebounding, and playmaking.

Despite Tatum’s standout performance in the decisive Game 5 with a 31-point double-double, the honor of the Bill Russell Award for NBA Finals MVP went to Jaylen Brown. Brown’s efficiency and consistent scoring throughout the series likely contributed to this decision, showcasing his ability to make crucial plays and elevate his game in critical moments.

The Celtics’ championship victory was indeed a team effort, with Tatum, Brown, and other key players like Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Al Horford, and Kristaps Porzingis all making significant contributions. The synergy between Tatum and Brown, often referred to as the “two Jays,” was pivotal in guiding Boston to their NBA-record 18th championship, demonstrating their prowess and impact on the grandest stage of basketball.


Jayson Tatum vs. Jaylen Brown stats


Despite Jayson Tatum averaging more points, rebounds, and assists per game than Jaylen Brown during the NBA Finals, Brown’s efficiency and defensive impact played significant roles in his recognition. Brown shot a solid 53.3% from the field and maintained a high level of shooting accuracy throughout the series, including impressive three-point shooting at 41.7%. His defensive contributions were also notable, registering multiple steals in three games and playing a pivotal role in guarding key opponents like Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Tatum’s performances were marked by his scoring prowess and all-around contributions, posting two 31-point games (Games 3 and 5) and showcasing versatility with rebounds and assists. However, Brown’s efficiency and defensive versatility likely influenced the decision for him to receive the Bill Russell Award as NBA Finals MVP, highlighting his impactful role in the Celtics’ championship victory.

Here’s a look at per-game stats of the two stars.

Jayson Tatum Jaylen Brown
Minutes 40.2 38.5
Points 22.2 20.8
Rebounds 7.8 5.4
Assists 7.2 5.0
Steals 1.0 1.6
Blocks 0.6 0.8
Turnovers 3.2 2.8
Field goal % 38.8 44.0
3-point % 26.3 23.5
Free throw % 92.6 73.3


Jayson Tatum Jaylen Brown
Win shares 2.7 2.0
Box plus minus 3.7 1.8
Value over replacement player 1.1 0.7
Player efficiency rating 20.1 19.1


2024 NBA Finals MVP voting results

Voter MVP
Sam Amick, The Athletic Jaylen Brown
Malika Andrews, ESPN Jayson Tatum
Tim Bontemps, ESPN.com Jaylen Brown
Doris Burke, ABC Jayson Tatum
P.J. Carlesimo, ESPN Radio Jayson Tatum
Mike Curtis, Dallas Morning News Jaylen Brown
Vince Goodwill, Yahoo Sports Jaylen Brown
Shaun Powell, NBA.com Jaylen Brown
Simone Sandri, La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy) Jaylen Brown
Gary Washburn, Boston Globe Jayson Tatum
Jeff Zillgett, USA Today Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown also earned recognition as the Eastern Conference Finals MVP following his standout performance in Boston’s swift four-game sweep of the Pacers. His impeccable play came at a crucial juncture, marking a pinnacle in his basketball career just as the Celtics surged towards their championship victory.

Yet, in the spirit of humility and team unity, Brown acknowledged during his NBA Finals MVP acceptance speech that the Celtics’ triumph was truly a collective endeavor. “It was a full team effort,” he emphasized, attributing their success to the cohesive contributions of every player on the roster.

In a candid moment with ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the trophy presentation, Brown graciously shared the spotlight with his teammates, particularly highlighting his partnership with Jayson Tatum. “I share this with my brothers, and my partner in crime Jayson Tatum,” Brown quipped with a grin. “He’s been right there beside me every step of the way, so this victory is something we celebrate together.”

In retrospect, Brown’s individual accolades and his role in Boston’s championship run underscored not only his personal achievements but also the camaraderie and mutual support among the Celtics’ roster. His words encapsulated the team’s collective journey towards reclaiming NBA glory after a lengthy 16-year championship drought, adding a touch of wit and camaraderie to the celebratory moment.