Jason Tatum says he and Jaylen Brown are ‘eager’ to achieve more things together

Celtics

“I think we really took those next steps last season.”

Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown reached the NBA Finals for the first time last season. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

One of the major stories surrounding the Celtics over the years was if the pairing of Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown could actually work.

Being the lead scorer for the young duo of the Celtics in the first season, he ended the year at .500 and was knocked out in the first round (of course, Brown was out with an injury). Over half the next season, raising those concerns, were still at .500.

But things changed in the final months of the 2021–22 season, with Tatum emerging as a first-team All-NBA player and Brown proving to be a reliable All-Star-level player. Both led the Celtics to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Warriors in six games.

However, there are still reports of the separation of both of them. The Celtics reportedly offered Brown as part of a trade package for Nets star and two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant earlier in the off-season.

While there is a possibility that Brown will not be his teammate until the start of the season, Tatum is still focused on playing alongside his fellow youth All-Star teammates as they enter Year 6 together. If the two stay together in Greeley Tribune for the foreseeable future, it’s not unreasonable to think that they could win multiple titles and join other legends in Celtics lore.

Tatum said he and Brown are not thinking about their legacy. Instead, they are just focused on getting better in the hopes of scoring another run in the final.

“We just try to stay in the moment,” Tatum told Tom Giles of NBC Sports Greeley Tribune on Thursday. “It’s not necessarily what our legacy would look like if we did, that and third.

“Just trying to be the best version of myself we can be, the best players we can be, and compete at the highest level. I think we really took the next steps last season. We’ll give you the first It will show that we have much more to do, and more to accomplish. And we look forward to doing that.”

Tatum also took aim at those who might have suspected the two.

“Yes, [we’re growing together],” Tatum said. “Despite all the people who said we couldn’t play together, we always believed we could.”

When Tatum was first asked about a potential Brown-for-Durant trade a few days after the report surfaced, he was slightly respectful, calling Durant “a great player” but “it’s not my decision”. keeping in mind. Tatum made a point though to say, “I love our team. I love the people we’ve met.”

Tatum was not directly asked by Giles about the big business rumor. He was asked if he thought the Celtics could win the NBA Finals, and his answer remained consistent.

“What kind of competitor would I be if I said no? I’ve always believed in myself and I’ve always believed in my teammates,” Tatum said. “Obviously we got close — we got to Game 6. But we didn’t do that. This off season, everything is just about getting back to that point and overcoming the hunch. We added two great pieces which, I think, make us a lot better and a lot of praise for our team. ,

As Tatum noted, the Celtics made a couple headlining moves this off-season. He traded for combo guard Malcolm Brogdon, who averaged 18.9 points and 6.3 assists per game over the past three seasons, not leaving any major rotational pieces from the Pacers and his final running in the trade. He also signed veteran sharpshooting forward Danilo Gallinari.

Brogdon and Gallinari’s additions help fill in two of his biggest weaknesses: 3-point shooting and playmaking. With the odds listing the Celtics as the favorites for the 2022-23 NBA title, the predictions certainly feel the same way.

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