Advertisement

Isaiah Thomas: Tatum and Brown have ‘proved a lot of people wrong'

Isaiah Thomas: Tatum and Brown have ‘proved a lot of people wrong' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

After playing alongside Jaylen Brown during Brown's rookie season, Isaiah Thomas has seen first-hand how much the former No. 3 overall pick has grown. Following Thomas' departure in the summer of 2017, Brown was joined by another No. 3 pick in Jayson Tatum. With Brown and Tatum playing similar positions, some didn't believe the two could succeed together, but according to Thomas, they've proved those people wrong.

"I'm very impressed, I'm not surprised at all though," Thomas said of Brown on Monday night during NBC Sports Boston's Celtics Pregame Live prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. "[Brown] came in with an attitude that he was the best on the team -- it was in a good way, though."

Thomas credited Brown for waiting for his turn during his rookie year after being drafted to a playoff-caliber team. Thomas also tipped his cap to Brown for seizing his opportunity and expanding his role year over year. After averaging just 6.6 points per game in his debut season, Brown made a significant second-year jump up to 14.5 points per game. By Year 4, he was averaging over 20 points per game, and he hasn't looked back since.

"I'm a big fan of JB," Thomas added. "I know he puts the work in each and every day, each and every year to come back with something added to his game, and to be one of the best players in the world. I'm not surprised at where he's at -- I'm super happy for his growth, maturity, his playoff experience."

One area of growth Brown focused on this season was his left hand. Often called out for turning the ball over last season, Brown made improving his left hand a priority. Between finishing strong at the rim with his left hand, confidently making complex dribble moves with his off hand, and even making a statement in the dunk contest, Brown has worked to bring his turnovers down from 2.9 per game last season to 2.4 this season.

"Obviously Jayson Tatum is just one of the best players in the world as well," Thomas said. "To see these two guys mesh so well together when a lot of people didn't think they could play well together -- they've proved a lot of people wrong, they've grown in every aspect of the game, and those guys are by far the leaders of the team."

Tatum and Brown have led the Celtics to three Eastern Conference Finals and a trip to the NBA Finals over the past six seasons. Currently holding a 3-1 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals after Monday's 109-102 victory, it appears they will once again have another deep playoff run together, with the ultimate goal of raising their first banner.

"I would love to see those guys take it to another level," Thomas told Brian Scalabrine of what the star duo will need to do to win their first championship. "They are in need of taking it to that level for the Boston Celtics to win the championship."

The Celtics will look to close things out in the conference semifinals on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET -- with NBC Sports Boston's coverage beginning at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live -- as they look to complete the gentleman's sweep of the Cavaliers.

Check out Thomas' full interview on Celtics Pregame Live in the YouTube video below.