Rising Stars Brown and Tatum See Greatness in C's
LOS ANGELES – Jaylen Brown had not been afforded a moment to sit back and appreciate how great his Celtics have been this season – until Friday afternoon in Los Angeles.
Brown and his teammate, Jayson Tatum, will both participate in tonight’s Rising Stars Challenge, which pits the top rookies and sophomores against each other in a Team USA versus Team World format. Following their morning practice at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Celtics.com asked Brown about how special it was to be playing on a team that has multiple Rising Stars and multiple All-Stars (Kyrie Irving and Al Horford).
“Man, when I think about it, that really is kind of special,” he said, seemingly caught off guard by the notion. “Multiple All-Stars and multiple Rising Stars… I think that’s pretty cool. I don’t know how many teams have done that before…”
Celtics.com then interjected and to let him know that his team was the third in history, and these Celtics are only the second to have four players accomplish the feat (one of the three teams was the 2005 Miami Heat, which had Dwyane Wade as both a Rising Star and an All-Star).
“Three teams?” he responded, raising his eyebrows. “Wow. When you think of it in that light, it’s amazing.”
Tatum said that the feat is a testament to Boston’s accomplishments thus far in the season as a team.
“It’s great, because we’ve been doing really well as a team,” Tatum said, “and for me and Jaylen to be in this game, and our two leaders in Ky [Irving] and Al [Horford] in the All-Star game, we’re representing the city of Boston well and we’re all very excited for one another to be here.”
With that being said, it would be easy for these two 21-and-under Rising Stars to get caught up in the hype. However, Brown made it clear Friday morning that while he and Tatum will enjoy this weekend, their main focus is on pushing the Celtics toward the NBA Finals.
“JT [Tatum] and I are striving for the next level,” said Brown, “and more importantly want to continue to win. So we want to engage into this, but also get out minds ready to get back to Boston and get back to our winning ways.”
Boston’s winning ways have taken a dip in regularity of late. The Celtics were at one point 34-10 on the season and they had sat atop the Eastern Conference standings since the first week of the season. Over the last month, however, they have gone just 6-9 and stumbled into the All-Star break having lost three straight. They are now 40-19 and trail Toronto by two games for the top seed in the East.
Tatum is confident that the Celtics can and will right the ship. In fact, he is confident that the team can even compete for an NBA title this season.
“I feel like we have a great team,” he said. “I definitely feel like if we play the right way every night we can give ourselves a chance against anybody.”
How do the Celtics get back to playing the right way?
“Just get back on the same page and figure things out and be the team that we know we can be,” he said.
That team is the one that is historically talented with multiple Rising Stars and multiple All-Stars. That team proved that it is capable of beating every team in the league.
Friday afforded Brown a brief moment to appreciate what he and the Celtics accomplished during the first four months of the season, but after this weekend, it’s all about getting back to being that.