Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will undoubtedly adhere to taking on increased roles for the coming 2020-21 Boston Celtics but, still, head coach Brad Stevens reminded everyone that the success of his team isn’t solely up to his dynamic duo.
Sure, Tatum and Brown’s contract extensions make them the two franchise cornerstone pillars. They’re signed, together, through 2024.
However, Stevens says hierarchy and talk that, “This is now Tatum and Brown’s team,” is irrelevant.
“Those two guys have huge responsibilities,” Stevens said. “They’ve got a great deal of responsibility as part of this team and with the roles that they play on this team. They’re clearly guys that have made huge plays all the way throughout their career and will continue to do so.”
Brad Stevens: ‘We’re All One Team And We Represent The Celtics’
Tatum and Brown’s ascensions propelled the Celtics to new heights last season. Evolving into two 20-plus-point scorers they combined for 43.7 points per game throughout 2019-2020 – which pushed Boston to become the second-highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference (112.8 points per game).
“I think the Celtics are Boston’s team, and we’re all trying to play whatever role that we can to do our part to represent Boston well,” Stevens said. “Some guys will obviously get much of the attention but at the end of the day it’s one thing that I really like about those guys, is that I don’t think they’re as concerned about whose team it is or any of that stuff. It’s more about we’re all one team and we represent the Celtics and our responsibility is to that.”
Realistically, Kemba Walker being out for the foreseeable future with a knee injury means the pressure on Tatum and Brown is at an all-time high. It comes with the territory when a team commits over $300 million to an under 25-year-old tandem.
Jaylen Brown: ‘We’ve Been Close But We’re Trying To Get Over That Hump’
But could the president of basketball operations Danny Ainge have drafted a brighter pair to lead his young team? Ainge hit the jackpot when he picked the two in back-to-back drafts, in 2016 and 17, because when things were down – Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward injured – they adapted quickly, and have evolved into proven All-Star caliber players.
Still, how far can a Tatum-and-Brown led Celtics team go? Or, better question: Is there a chance things could implode?
Marcus Smart, the team’s longest-tenured member, and unofficial captain will also play an important role. The three will take the mantle in one way or another and it certainly won’t be easy.
No Walker to start the regular season means Smart will facilitate the offense more often, while the Celtics look to replace Walker and Gordon Hayward’s production in the starting unit. Brown says one of his main goals this season is to make his teammates better.
After coming up short in the Eastern Conference finals three out of the past four seasons, Jaylen believes strengthening his teammates could ultimately lead to a trip to the NBA Finals.
“I’m looking forward to the future,” Brown said. “We here and we’ve been close but we’re trying to get over that hump. So, we got to win games. We got to win games when it matters most, so I think that’s what we’re both focused on.”