Tatum reflects on growth alongside Jaylen, with a message for critics originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
At around this time last year, there was a real discussion about whether Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown could co-exist on the same team, to the point where the young Boston Celtics duo did a sit-down interview with our Chris Forsberg to insist they wanted to play together.
Tatum and Brown did plenty to bury that narrative this past season, helping the Celtics reach their first NBA Finals since 2010 and coming within two wins of a championship.
If the C's win it all this season, Tatum and Brown could enter the discussion as one of the NBA's best young duos in recent memory. Tatum isn't thinking in those terms, however.
"We just try to stay in the moment," Tatum told NBC Sports Boston's Tom Giles from his youth basketball camp at Chaminade High School in St. Louis. "It's not necessarily about what our legacy would look like if we did this, that and the third. Just trying to be the best versions of ourselves, the best players we can be, and compete at the highest level."
Still, Tatum believes he and Brown made great strides in 2021-22. Both young stars averaged career highs in assists (4.4 for Tatum; 3.5 for Brown) while evolving as playmakers outside of their traditional scoring roles.
"I think we really took those next steps last season," Tatum said. "We'd be the first to tell you that we've got more to do, more to accomplish. And we're eager to do so."
Oh, and Tatum still hasn't forgotten those who doubted he and Brown.
"Yeah (we're growing together)," Tatum added. "Despite all the people that said we couldn't play together, we always believed that we could."
Brown's name reportedly has come up in trade discussions involving Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant this offseason. No deal appears imminent, however, and if Tatum and Brown run it back for a sixth season together, they'll have plenty of motivation to continue to prove their critics wrong.