March 26, 2023

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka speaks to Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)AP
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were burdened with all the questions and doubts going into last season — and that outside noise only got louder as the season crept along. The C’s struggled to an 18-21 start as Tatum weathered a slow start and Brown endured an early hamstring injury.
That’s when the detractors were at their loudest: Could the two young stars in Boston work together? As the Celtics engineered a remarkable turnaround to No. 2 in the East and an NBA Finals run, the noise has finally quieted down. Even with Brown stuck in Kevin Durant trade rumors, there weren’t many doubts of whether the duo of Tatum and Brown could work together in Boston going forward.
Now, the Celtics enter the 2022-23 season as title favorites. Boston was just two wins away from its 18th banner with Brown and Tatum leading the way. Armed with one of the deepest rosters on the league, the Celtics — and to a same extent, Tatum — are looking to take the next step. Tatum took the time to break down his relationship with Brown in a sit-down interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks.
“Everybody talking about you got to trade one or the other, you got to pick,” Tatum said. “It’s like, wait, you got two guys under 26 at one of the best players at their respective positions. Two-way players. Why would you ever want to split that up? Nobody can win a championship together until they do it. So it’s like, yeah, we haven’t won so you can say we can’t do it. But it’s not like we don’t have any time left. We’re both still so young.”
Tatum put up the best season of his young career, named an All-Star, first-team All-NBA and averaged a career-best in points, rebounds and assists. Brown’s numbers regressed after being named to his first All-Star team a season prior, though that was partly because of a slow return from his hamstring.
While the Celtics do have a deep roster that can go 10 players deep, they’re still banking on natural improvements from their two best players. Tatum, 24, continues to add to his stardom while Brown, 25, looks to become a consistent All-Star annually. That’s where the duo’s relationship stands as they look to get back to the Finals.
“There’s no competition,” Tatum said. “When he made his first All-Star team, I was extremely happy for him. I know how much that meant to him, how hard he worked for that and that he deserved it. It’s enough money and attention and shots or whatever to go around. We on the same team and we’re trying to accomplish something together.”
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