What the Boston Celtics learned once again at the end of their NBA season is that talent alone doesn’t win championships.
With the All-NBA duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way, the Celtics once again failed to get over the hump against a team far less talented in the Miami Heat.
It was one thing coming up short the year prior against the Golden State Warriors but falling 0-3 and eventually no showing in Game 7 for the chance to get back to the Finals has Celtics fans, former players and critics wondering if the young duo has reached their ceiling…together.
With bothplayers eligible for Super Max money, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will be faced with a dilemma this summer. Is it finally time to move on from Brown if the trade is right or do what it takes to keep Tatum and Brown together and build around them with the right pieces?
Boston Celtics are committed to their core led by Tatum and Brown
Following the team’s playoff exit, Stevens has made it clear that the team believes in Brown and willfocus on building around the team’s core. That mean Tatum and Brown who have yet to really hit their prime.
Appearing on an episode of the “What’s Burnin” podcast, former NBA star Tracy McGrady says patience is key and keeping the duo together will bring a title to Boston eventually and perhaps many titles.
"“You don’t dismantle that, I’m sorry,” McGrady said. “Hell yeah, you keep that! This is, what, 25 and 26-year-olds? Why would you get rid of that? I don’t understand why would you get rid of two guys that have played for NBA Championship, (and) went to four Eastern Conference Finals.At some point, these guys are going to raise a banner.”"
Despite their ages, the duo of Tatum and Brown have a lot of playoff experience, but there has hardly been consistency in the team around them. Besides Marcus Smart and Al Horford, the team has seen a shuffle at the point guard position which begin with the drama of Kyrie Irving and led to the coming and going of Kemba Walker.
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While the supporting cast shifted from season to season, both Tatum and Brown continued to grow and raise their games to higher levels. But there is a maturation process both players are still going through. Tough games, tough losses are a part of that growth. Add to that a change in coaching philosophy with three different head coaches over the last three seasons.
With that said, McGrady is right about riding it a bit longer with this duo. Eventually they will break through like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did back in the early 90s. Even those players and that Chicago Bulls team went through a few seasons of knocking on the door before eventually busting through and taking the throne.
That could be where a team lead by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is heading. The only question is do those two players have the mission within them to continue growing, learning from past failures to ultimately thrive as a duo?
As long as the Boston Celtics organization and fans have the patience, there could be a bigger reward in store for years to come.