After 12 long years, the Boston Celtics are once again back in the NBA Finals — a position they’ve been in 22 times over the course of their franchise. But unlike in the past, this year’s Celtics went through one of the biggest turnarounds in NBA history. They started as a mediocre team with a 21-22 record in January, to the point where there were dialogues about breaking the team’s core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown up.
Jaylen heard it all.
The Celtics’ rough start had many questioning the fit of Tatum and Brown, two All-Stars who need the ball in their hands to do their best. However, what many didn’t know is that the Celtics had injury issues while they were adjusting to their new head coach, Ime Udoka’s system. During the first few months of the season, Brown couldn’t help but hear all the trade rumors involving his name.
“That trade talk was loud, and most of it came from Boston fans,” Brown told Yahoo Sports. “It’s a city that doesn’t tolerate excuses. But in reality, early in the season we had a new coach, we had a new front office, I missed about 15 games early in the season and that caused us to not be clicking on all cylinders like we wanted to be. People were impatient, so I understand. But fast forward, we got healthy, we got everybody back and now the sky’s the limit.”
Thankfully for Brown, Celtics general manager Brad Stevens assured him that he wasn’t going anywhere despite his name being all over the place. The credit goes to Brown for not letting the noise get to his head and trusting the process to get the best out of his game.
Brown averaged a career-high 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the regular season. He’s also easily been one of their most potent players in their post-season run.
The importance of staying patient
When Udoka took the head coaching gig for the Celtics last year, he believed that the Tatum-Brown tandem could work long-term and win a championship. The first-year head coach orchestrated a motion-heavy offense that helped Tatum and Brown get off screens so they could get the best looks they’ve ever experienced in their career.
True enough, Udoka’s offensive system has triumphed, and his defensive game-plan has been their deadliest weapon so far in the Playoffs. This wouldn’t have been possible had Boston panicked like most of their fans (according to Brown) and naysayers did when they wanted to break up the Jays. That’s the importance of staying patient and finding the right coach and system that works well with the team.