Stephen A. Smith takes offense when co-host ranks Jimmy Butler over Jaylen Brown

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When ESPN’s Chris Russo revealed his long list of players that he has ranked above Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown, his colleague Stephen A. Smith took issue with a couple of his selections.

More specifically, Smith doesn’t think that Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George belongs ahead of Brown, and he isn’t entirely convinced that Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler should be ahead of the 26-year-old either.

“I think Jimmy Butler (being above Brown) is questionable because you gotta take into account the regular season,” Smith said. “… Jimmy Butler during the playoffs, you can sit up there and bring that up. That’s fine. I’m taking into account the entire season. I understand the impact that Jimmy Butler has. I think Jimmy Butler’s a stud. But I also think Jaylen Brown is a stud. I think that’s debatable. And I don’t think that Paul George deserves to be on the list ahead of Jaylen Brown. I don’t believe that.”

Brown’s stock seemingly took a hit during Boston’s recent Eastern Conference Finals matchup against Miami.

In the Celtics-Heat series, Brown averaged 19.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting just 41.8 percent from the field and 16.3 percent from deep. He also had some serious issues with his handle, turning the ball over 3.6 times per game throughout the series and eight times in Game 7.

Overall, he has a nice resume in his NBA career so far, as he’s a two-time All-Star and earned All-NBA honors this season. However, many of his flaws came out to play during the Eastern Conference Finals, which has caused some Celtics fans to question his future with the team.

For all of those reasons, it’s a bold time for Smith to say that Brown vs. Butler is “debatable” while also putting the Celtics star ahead of George.

Of those three players, Butler is the only one who is still alive in the 2022-23 season. The 33-year-old is once again on the doorstep of potentially winning his first NBA title, as just four wins stand between the Heat and NBA heaven.

Getting the job done is going to be a tough task for Miami, as the team will have to deal with a Denver Nuggets squad that is peaking at the perfect time. But if NBA fans have learned anything this postseason, it’s that the Heat can never be counted out of any series.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is set for Thursday in Denver. The Heat will look to make a statement to get things started and steal home-court advantage in the process.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and has plenty of memories involving the Miami Heat. He expects there will be winning basketball in South Florida for years to come.