Jaylen Brown believes the Boston Celtics are the best team in the Eastern Conference even with the injuries.
Boston Celtics second-year swingman Jaylen Brown has the kind of swagger and confidence that spells NBA stardom. More importantly, he has the heart and talent to back it up.
So does his team.
While NBA pundits like Charles Barkley, Chris Broussard and Nick Wright continue to write his team off, Brown believes the Celtics are the No. 1 team in the East. Currently, the team is two games behind the Toronto Raptors in the standings, but throughout much of the season, the Celtics have played like the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Even through injuries to their most important players, including Brown himself, this team has played inspired basketball. They have beaten some pretty good teams without Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and Al Horford at times. That includes Saturday night’s 110-99 victory over the fully healthy Raptors.
Although Brown scored just 4 points in that particular game, he believes his team still has time to catch the Raptors for that No. 1 seed.
"“I think we can get it, for sure,” Brown said, as transcribed by MassLive.com. “We’ve got what, five or six games left? Six? We play Toronto again. It’s possible, but the chips will fall where they may. The East is a little bit crazy, and the West is even crazier. I don’t think anyone knows who is going to be playing who. We just have to continue to get better, because the team that’s going to beat us is going to be ourselves.”"
Health will also be a factor. The team will be without Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart when the playoffs start. While this team is not bowing down to excuses, both of those players will be key to how far the team goes. Getting past the first round without them may be what the Celtics will have to do. Jaylen Brown will be a key in that challenge.
A world of confidence
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Playoff tested and playoff ready, Brown feels locking down the No. 1 seed will be fitting, but not necessarily important due to the fact that he believes the Celtics are the No. 1 team even without the top seed.
"“I feel like we’re the number one team, and the number one seed would be fitting, but we just have to come out and play basketball,” Brown continued. “There’s a lot of teams that think otherwise. Toronto’s one of them, we play those guys. Milwaukee is probably one of them too. We play those two guys coming up soon. We have to go out and show it.”"
The Boston Celtics could possibly faceoff against the Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. That makes Tuesday night’s game a possible playoff preview. It will also be a test to how this team without Irving and Smart measures up against a playoff caliber team in their own building.
One reason Jaylen Brown is confident about his team’s ability is the man who coaches them.
Brown lauded Brad Stevens as Coach of the Year because of how he has kept the team afloat despite all the injuries and the fact that only four players returned from last year’s team.
"“I think he’s Coach of the Year,” Brown said. “He’ll figure out a scheme to make everything flow the way it normally flows. Terry (Rozier)’s questionable. In Brad we trust, so he’ll figure it out.”"
It also takes the kind of players the Boston Celtics have to make it all work. Acknowledging that, Brown also gave major props to Danny Ainge for the talent he has assembled.