NBA: 8 Stars facing enormous pressure to make a deep run in the 2024 playoffs

Which NBA stars are facing the most pressure to come through in the 2024 NBA Playoffs?
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
2 of 5

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)

It is Championship-or-bust this season for the Boston Celtics. There might not be another team in the league that that's true about this year, and if there is it is arguably not as true for them as it is for the Celtics. There is an immense amount of pressure on the Celtics to finally put it all together and win it all this year.

Boston went 64-18 this season, the best record in the NBA by 7 games. They also finished a whopping 14 games ahead of the 2-seed Knicks in the East. Boston really needs to at least make the finals this season, if not win it all.

Jayson Tatum has seemingly been on the verge of jumping into the upper echelon of being the top handful of players in the league for several years now but has yet to fully take that step. Part of the issue has been inconsistency, especially in the playoffs. While he's had some signature moments (such as his 51-point, 13-rebound performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last year), he's also had some performances that have left some to be desired (such as a 14-point performance in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last year).

In fact, Tatum has failed to reach the 20-point mark in 30 of his playoff games in his career (out of 94, so roughly 32% of the time).

This season Tatum averaged 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game on 47.1% shooting (37.6% 3PT), which is a very strong season (especially considering some of the guys he's splitting shots with). However, Tatum could use a strong playoff performance this year.

Jaylen Brown had one of the best seasons of his career (23 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game on 49.9% shooting and 35.4% 3PT%), but he just signed the largest contract in NBA history (5 years, $304 million) and there is a lot of pressure that comes with that. When you sign the first 300 million dollar contract in NBA history, that raises the ante by a lot.

There have also been critics of Brown's play at times in the playoffs as well. For instance, in the Eastern Conference Finals last year he only averaged 19 points per game on 41.8% shooting (16.3% 3PT). What mounts the frustration onto that is that he had just gotten done averaging 26.7 points per game on 54.1% FG/51.5% 3PT shooting in the 1st round against the Hawks.

This is year No. 7 for Tatum and Brown together. They have just one NBA Finals appearance to show for it. There were major questions after last season's ECF loss, and if the C's come up empty again this year then the noise will get even louder for this talented duo.

We know how good this duo/the Celtics as a whole are, and it would not surprise anyone if they did win the title this season, but there is a lot of pressure on them to do so.