After a run to the NBA Finals last season, the Boston Celtics will look to make it back to the championship round and win it all this time around. The odds of them doing so are quite high, given how well Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are playing. C.J. McCollum recently stated why he believes the star duo has been able to coexist admirably.
"I think they've figured out how to coexist together," McCollum said. "They're not fighting each other for shots. They're making the extra passes to each other, and I think they're celebrating one another's success."
Playing off each other
There was a time when Celtics supporters worried that having two players at the same position and playstyle won't thrive in one team. But both Tatum and Brown have shrugged off that notion.
Tatum is displaying the potential that had some pundits ranking him the No. 1 prospect of the 2017 NBA Draft. He is averaging 31.1 points while dishing out 4.1 assists per contest. His ability to put the ball in the basket while getting his teammates involved has helped lead Boston to the top of the Eastern Conference and resulted in a legitimate MVP buzz.
As for Brown, his numbers are not too far off - 25.1 points and 3.2 assists per game. The seventh-year pro has learned when to take the backseat to his partner in crime and when to take over when needed.
Fans should certainly be thrilled that the two alpha dogs have shown beautiful chemistry, which McCollum alluded to.
Memories of Dame
McCollum's comments might also evoke memories of his Portland Trail Blazers tenure, which saw him play as an undersized shooting guard alongside Damian Lillard.
The partnership between Tatum and Brown is similar to that of the former Blazers backcourt, as Lillard and McCollum were able to empower each other. Perhaps the difference is that the Celtics duo got past the Eastern Conference Finals, while the farthest Portland got in recent seasons was the conference finals.
"They've figured out how to both remain themselves while empowering each other, and that's very hard to do," McCollum continued.
It remains to be seen if Boston can finish better than its runner-up placing last season. With Tatum and Brown leading the way, that doesn't seem like a crazy idea.