Boston Celtics

Many Celtics fans still consider Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown ‘young’ stars in the league. In a lot of ways, they still are – Brown is 26 years old and Tatum just turned 25 last month. At the same time though, their basketball experiences are more in line with players who have played significantly more years in the league.

Speaking with Toucher & Rich Thursday morning, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens highlighted that fact when talking about how the two factors into the C’s comeback win over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

“They’re young in age, but they’re not young in playoff years. These guys have been there, done that,” Stevens noted, when asked about his young stars leading the second half push against a veteran team. “They’ve played in big series, they’ve played deep into the playoffs. We all have aspirations to go further. We all have aspirations to win it all. But they’ve been in big moments and they’ve competed against the very best in big moments over and over and over and show themselves well in those.”

“They’ve obviously been in the limelight for the past few years, and the reason they’ve been in the limelight is because they’re really good and they’re really good when you compare them against the all time greats at their age and their impact in the playoffs,” Stevens continued. “So this is not a new thing for those two guys.”

Since Tatum was drafted ahead of the 2017-2018 season, the Celtics have appeared in the playoffs every single year. In total the duo has played in 46 playoff games together, going 27-19. They’ve faced some of the best players in the NBA in that stretch, including LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

While touting Tatum and Brown’s experience, Stevens did also mention two truly younger players who also played key roles in Wednesday night’s win. “The guys that maybe you could say that about that played a huge role yesterday were Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard,” Stevens pointed out. “That’s a big deal to be on the ropes, and Grant Williams makes three threes, or Payton makes those two pull ups, which were huge shots. The one when we were down 88-81 that Payton pulled up and hit was one of those shots that you kind of forget about when you react to the game, but probably again, just keeps you within arm’s reach. And then all of a sudden you go on your run. So those guys are the ones that I would point to if you want to talk about, you know, young guys really getting a boost out of that.”

During the conversation, Stevens also spoke about Robert Williams injury timetable, the crowds at TD Garden and the Barclays Center, and more. You can listen to the full interview below…

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