What will determine the Celtics' fate this season is whether their two franchise members can bring the greatest to one another.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are no longer the understudies behind players like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, and Gordon Hayward. The Celtics are their franchise, and the two under-25 All-Stars have a strong reputation for advancing past last season's disappointing finish and changing team culture.
Many people have asked if Brown and Tatum can thrive together. They can accomplish many of the same things. They are considered defensively interchangeable. NBA teams have a primary scorer traditionally. The Celtics have two, and they encourage each other.
Tatum met up with Brown in Las Vegas a few days after returning from Tokyo with his Olympic gold medal. Brown put the medal around his neck, and they spotted a photo that was posted on social media.
Brown remarked on his love with Tatum, "It's definitely grown a lot." I believe it is centered around respect. There's a lot of respect there. Jayson respects his work ethic, especially because he respectes him. We both put a lot in this game.
Brown made use of his first training camp media session on Wednesday to clear up some misconceptions, such as that he is more focused on social activism and other off-court endeavors than basketball.
Regardless of what I do off the court, I put everything in this game, my heart and soul, he added. Our relationship is built around respect. I respect Jayson because he's one of the finest players in this game, irrespective of 25 and under, and i believe if a player is all said and done, him can be one among the best [of all time]. I believe I'm the same about myself.
Brown stated that outside forces, such as the media, may opt to create a narrative in which the two aren't working together due to their differences. That isn't the case. However, there is a concern that the two have developed into the habit of taking turns offensively, making the Celtics more predictable.
The media prefers dichotomize things, and one thing is different, there must be a Batman and Robin, Brown said. Were just two guys who can hoop. The reality is that two guys who can hoop can coexist.
Ime Udoka, coach of New Celtics, believes that his goal is to help make both better playmakers and even more productive teammates more successful.
As we've mentioned several times, it goes unanswered that they're the foundations, Udoka said. Guys must be aware of one another. Sometimes, you don't appreciate everything you have right next to you. That's one thing I'll emphasize to them, but I don't think it'm a question of whether they can or cannot play together. It's been proven what they've done while being healthy and together on the court.
Udoka's comments were fascinating since he plans to adjust Tatum and Brown'' on the floor. He intends to make the tame move of keeping at least one on the floor at all times.
Last season, the Celtics won 114,7 points per 100 possessions in games Tatum and Brown played together, from 28-23.
Were staggering their minutes, and when one is in and one out they have the chance to be more aggressive and taking advantage of matchups, Udoka said. Its simply a matter of them gaining their status as players and becoming more playmakers, itll be more about looking for yourself every time.
Brown assured Celtics fans that they wouldn't have to worry about any concerns between him and Tatum. Brown and Tatum must play with chemistry and cohesion, to make the game simpler for each other, and to increase both their scoring and offensive efficiency, as well as their assists.
The media wants to write the narrative that [tries to pull] us apart, type of occasionally, Brown added. We talk a lot, but we talk very much. We don't let it bother us. We hear a lot of things, the comparisons, but I want what he wants andn't wants the best for him, regardless of what everyone is saying: "We can'T coexist, we don'' t play well together, or whatever." I enjoy playing with Jayson. I do do it well. He's a guy I trust out there to make plays. I'm sure he can carry [the crew], and I know if a person can trust him out there. That's not always easy to find at times.
There have been a number of dynamic duos that have broken up because they couldn't thrive together, such as Stephon Marbury-Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook, and now presumably Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid. That won't be an issue in Boston. Brown understands Tatum's importance and vice versa, because he knows how important a person is. Stay healthy and each game upgrading to atone for the last season will be the next step.
We kind of began our careers together; we won a lot of games here in Boston together at ostracized age, which is rare, Brown said. Sometimes it's fascinating to me to see such an urgency to pit us against one another at times. However, I could care less about what you read and see. It doesn't really bother me, no. I just want to be a better version of myself and try to figure out what I'm looking for. I want the greatest for my teammates, as well as the best for myself. You just take it one day at a time.
Gary Washburn can be reached by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.