WALTHAM, Mass. – Nearly one hour had passed since the conclusion of Friday morning’s Summer League mini-camp session, yet Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were still on the Celtics’ practice court sweating buckets and dropping buckets.
The two young Celts found themselves in the midst of a heated 3-point shooting contest – a showcase of the promising future that lies ahead for Boston.
Tatum, this year’s No. 3 overall draft pick quickly showed off his range as he hit 10 in a row, five from the left corner and five more from above the left break.
Brown, last year’s No. 3 overall pick, didn’t let the rookie’s early success faze him. It took him no time to catch up, as he drained shot after shot from beyond the arc while trading banter with his newest teammate.
During the latter portion of the contest, Brown canned four straight baskets from above the right break.
“Keep waitin,’ ” he confidently muttered to Tatum, who was hovering just a few feet to his right.
“Don’t miss!” the rook exclaimed in an attempt to jinx Brown… But it didn’t work. Brown went on to hit six more treys in a row before Tatum finally got to shoot again.
Moments later, Brown walked off the court victorious.
“Two days in a row, baby,” he said with a hint of swagger.
Tatum will surely remember those words the next time he squares off against Brown, and he’ll use them as motivation.
Now, take a moment and realize that the Celtics are only two days into Summer League mini-camp. That’s all the time it has taken for Brown and Tatum to build a bond, which they hope will be beneficial next week when the Summer C’s tip off exhibition play in Salt Lake City.
The two forwards are expected to be the stars of Boston’s loaded Summer League roster, and they’ve been with each other every step of the way through the early stages of camp.
“We’re in the weight room together. We’re doing the same workouts. I guess everything is together,” said Brown. “We’re going to get better together, grow together, and continue to get better moving toward the season.”
Brown is using the mini-camp stage as a mentoring period for his newest teammate. Having been through the same process last summer, Brown knows what to expect, so he’s trying to teach Tatum as much as possible before Summer League play begins.
“By the look in his eyes, everything is new to him,” Brown told the media in between the end of practice and the start of the 3-point competition. “Coming out of high school, coming out of college, he’s 19 years old… I was 19 years old last year, so it’s going to be a lot of questions that have to be asked. At least he has somebody here this year that’s seen everything that he’s seeing, so I can give him a lot more advice and help him out a little bit because I was in the exact same position last year.”
Tatum has done his best to act like a sponge over the last couple of days, soaking up as much information as possible from Brown.
“He’s been helpful through the process,” said the Duke product. “Every drill that we run, just making sure that I understand it. And if I have any questions he’s there to help me out.”
That’s the case until the post-practice competitions begin between Brown and Tatum. At that point, the only words coming out of Brown’s mouth are in the form of trash talk.
It’s all in good nature, however. The trash talk is a sign of a strong bond forming between Brown and Tatum. It marks the beginning of what could be a dynamic Celtics duo for many years to come.