Jayson Tatum Encourages Struggling Celtics Star: ‘Keep Your Head Up’

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Getty Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics.

Jaylen Brown began the 2021-22 NBA season in scintillating form for the Boston Celtics, dropping 46 points against the New York Knicks despite just returning from a COVID-induced absence.

Brown also participated in eight of the team’s first nine games, averaging 25.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 36.5 minutes of gameplay. Then, courtesy of a hamstring injury, the All-Star wing missed the subsequent eight games for Boston, returning to play in the Celtics victory over the Houston Rockets on November 22nd.

However, since returning from injury, Brown has been a shadow of himself. Struggling to impact games, Brown’s averages have come crashing down to Earth. The Georgia native has provided just 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per contest in 26.9 minutes of playing time since returning to the rotation, per Basketball-Reference.

Of course, Brown has struggled with injury issues before. We all know of his lingering knee tendinopathy issues. Last year, he missed the end of the Celtics season due to a ligament injury in his wrist, so the veteran wing is well aware of the hurdles he faces if he wishes to regain his All-Star level of play.

According to head coach Ime Udoka, neither Brown nor the team’s coaching staff saw anything to be concerned about in terms of his health, with Udoka noting that Brown had a good “effort possession” to help close out the game for Boston.

“He didn’t say anything (about his hamstring), I thought he had a really good effort possession, denying Embiid the ball, and scrambling around late, but nothing he said or nothing we saw,” Udoka said.

Tatum’ Knows How Tough it Can Be’

Speaking to the media after the Celtics victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, Jayson Tatum detailed how he’s trying to encourage Brown to continue being himself on the floor.

“Keep your head up, you know, there’s a time when I’m down, and he sees it, and then I see when he’s down. Coz I know how hard he works and how hard he wants it. You know, having COVID and the hamstring injury and trying to come back. I know how tough it can be and how bad you want something, and it may not be going that way at the moment,” Tatum explained.

It was only last season when Tatum himself was struggling following a lay-off, where the two-time All-Star had contracted COVID and then struggled to regain his fitness levels upon his return. Following Tatum’s struggles on the floor, he revealed that he was relying on an inhaler before games and during half-time to help him breathe better while on the floor. 

It’s how badly he struggled upon returning to the Celtics rotation that has Tatum believing in Brown’s ability to get back to his best in the coming weeks, which is a sentiment he shared with the post-game media.

“How frustrating it can be, and you’re still trying to find a way to win. We’re all human. We can get down on ourselves sometimes, and when you see that, tell him it’s going to be alright. Tell him to still be him because we’re at our best when he’s the best version of Jaylen Brown, and sometimes guys need to be reminded of that,” Tatum said of his willingness to keep encouraging his teammate.

Twitter Reacts to Brown’s Defense

Despite his struggles on the offensive end, primarily predicated on Brown’s reduced burst of speed, the Celtics wing has earned plaudits for his defensive effort in the team’s most recent win against the 76ers.

Multiple media members and a swath of fans all took to Twitter to praise Brown’s performance on defense, with many noting a specific possession mid-way through the fourth quarter.

Twitter user @Timi_093 wrote, “Some terrific off-ball effort on this play from Jaylen Brown.

With his effort levels still through the roof, it’s fair to assume that it’s only a matter of time until Jaylen Brown rediscovers his scoring abilities and boosts the Celtics offense with his three-level scoring ability.

Until then, it sounds like Tatum and the rest of the Celtics team will continue to support their struggling All-Star.


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