Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker

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Marcus Smart: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown’s 'minds are clear' from last season

Nick Friar
August 09, 2019 - 2:57 pm

As much as Kyrie Irving often received the brunt of the blame in the public eye for the Celtics’ disappointing 2018-19 season, Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and Marcus Smart have all expressed on separate occasions he alone did not ruin 2018-19.

The matter of how the team handled Gordon Hayward has been brought up from time to time. Then there’s another school of thought that the young guys created issues after leading the team to Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. Terry Rozier’s ESPN tour after the 2019 Playoffs helped that side of the argument, though he doesn’t speak for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who remain with the Celtics while Rozier is now the Hornets’ new point guard.

Brown recently expressed his displeasure with what happened last year. He also made it clear he’s ready to move on. Tatum recently told reporters at the Team USA workouts in Las Vegas, “Everybody is kind of tired of talking about last season.”

Training for Team USA has given the C’s young duo the chance at a new start, training alongside Smart and new Celtics point guard Kemba Walker. 

Now, Smart is the only one of Irving’s ex-teammates who’ll defend him, though the new Nets point guard and Tatum are on good terms. Yet, the longest-tenured Celtic has nothing but good things to say about the two young talents, according to Michael Lee of The Athletic.

“For them, and for any player that comes in as hot as they did, there’s going to be a lot of expectations the following year,” Smart said. “Everybody hits that wall where they go up and come right back down. For them, it’s learning that, ‘Okay, I hit the wall, what can I do differently?’ And just keeping the same mindset.

“A lot of people say doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. But for basketball players and athletes, we call that working. That’s it. Just (because) it wasn’t falling, you don’t change anything, you keep doing the things that you did you get you here and tweak it a little bit and turn it up a little bit more and that’s what these guys are doing. They’re young and they’re going to find out.”

When it comes to moving on from last year, Smart says Brown and Tatum’s “minds are clear.”

“That just shows the maturity and growth,” he added. “They could have come in and had a negative attitude about everything but they’re ready (to) get going, keep working and stay positive.”