Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON -- If there’s one lesson we all should learn from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, it’s the importance of your best player and your head coach being of the same mind and accord. 

So for Boston Celtics fans, the image Brad Stevens and Jayson Tatum checking out a Patriots recent practice was a welcome one as the Celtics undergo their own image makeover.

No longer are they the title-or-bust crew led by perennial All-Star Kyrie Irving, Mr. Glue Guy Al Horford and a host of promising youngsters who have had a taste of postseason success but are thirsty for more. 

This summer took a sledgehammer to those plans, as Irving and Horford now take up residence with Atlantic Division foes Brooklyn and Philadelphia, respectively.

Boston doesn’t have to go through a total reboot after acquiring Kemba Walker in a sign-and-trade with Charlotte that netted the Hornets Terry Rozier.

Walker will come in and put his imprint on the franchise. 

No one doubts this will happen. 

But when you consider how highly this organization has coveted Tatum from the time he arrived, it’s really a matter of when -- not if -- he takes over and becomes the face of this franchise. 

As important as Tatum's growth is to this team, there’s another reality that Celtics fans have to accept: Brad Stevens isn’t going anywhere unless Brad Stevens wants to go. 

 

By all signs and indications, he has no interest in returning to the college game now and, per league sources, even less interest in eventually moving on to coach another NBA team. 

So if a player like Tatum has visions of being the man for this franchise anytime soon, getting on the same page as Stevens can only enhance that happening. 

It makes sense that Stevens has tremendous job security considering he has shown noticeable growth in all but this past season, one in which he admitted on more than one occasion that he has to do better going forward. 

Part of that improvement has to be getting on the same page with his best players -- a group that certainly includes Tatum.

And by all accounts, these two have had a strong relationship for as long as Tatum has been in Boston. 

Remember, Tatum was in the starting lineup from the opening night of his rookie season, when many anticipated Boston would bring him along more slowly, potentially as a key reserve. 

The injury to Gordon Hayward forced many to elevate their play that year, especially Tatum, who eventually earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team. 

And in many ways, this season has the potential to be another in which Tatum must elevate himself both on the floor as well as inside the locker room. 

Because whether he wants to believe it or not, the team's less-experienced players (and there's a lot of them) will look to him more so this year than ever as a voice to be heard. 

Part of finding that voice is to best ensure that he and Stevens are singing a similar note as to avoid unnecessary confusion, which there seemed to be plenty of in the wake of Irving's departure. 

Having that kind of unspoken connectivity is one of the more understated strengths you find in the Belichick-Brady bond, one that rarely pits the words, thoughts or actions of one against the other. 

Of course that kind of connection takes time, trust and an unwavering belief in one another.

We’ve seen what that can do in terms of winning championships for the Patriots.

Can Stevens and Tatum replicate that?

Who knows. 

But simple acts like showing up together, to watch the best at it do their thing in preparation for yet another run at a championship, is a good start.

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