Exclusive – Tatum, Brown, Walker And Smart About Building Chemistry With Unique Team USA Opportunity 

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Exclusive – Tatum, Brown, Walker And Smart About Building Chemistry With Unique Team USA Opportunity 

 

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Boston Celtics found themselves in a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on the verge of a Finals berth before being stopped by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. At the time, the Celtics had lost both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to season ending injuries leaving the young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart with the seemingly impossible task of going deep into the postseason. 

At the time, the Celtics’ young stars overachieved and nearly won the Conference, but just twelve months later, the NBA world saw the Celtics underachieve in a way in which we are not accustomed to see talented teams underachieve. Kyrie Irving was back healthy but brought dysfunction and unrest, and Hayward was a shadow of himself when he finally returned to the court after his horrific leg injury. The Celtics faltered, and got bounced in the second round at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Now, with Irving gone and a new season fast approaching, the Celtics have a renewed air of optimism that they can right the wrongs of last campaign when the season tips of in early October. With a fresh start, they also have a distinct advantage over other NBA teams early on in the summer, with four of the Celtics members already working together and building their chemistry with Team USA ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China beginning at the end of August.

Those Celtics are Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and new star point guard Kemba Walker, who signed with the franchise in free agency to fill the void left by Irving when he decided to swap Boston for Brooklyn. Despite all the turmoil, the Celtics are excited about what this season may bring, and can go back to adopting a team-first and selfless culture under Brad Stevens in an improved Eastern Conference landscape.

Team USA currently find themselves in Melbourne, Australia with two exhibition games against the Australian National Team as a part of their preparations. OpenCourt-Basketball caught up with point guard Kemba Walker to discuss how the Team USA setup can help build the chemistry with his new teammates.

 

“Oh yeah it’s been great man, we are getting that togetherness and hopefully we can build on this experience and take it to our team this season. We’ve been getting the opportunity to spend some together, you know, it’s only me I’m the only new guy those guys already know each other but I’m getting there, like I said we’re building that chemistry.” 

 

Walker will no doubt be a key factor for the Celtics scoring punch and late game execution, and his teammate Marcus Smart highlighted the importance of the Celtics boys welcoming Walker at Team USA and getting to learn his tendencies.

 

“It’s going to help us tremendously, we can actually get work in you know, most teams, a lot of teams don’t get, we’re here we’re working we’re finding out each and everything that everybody likes about each other especially with the addition of Kemba, and really just finding out his game and being to play with him and what he likes and doesn’t like and visa versa with him and us.”

 

 

Another important offensive element will be the continued development of young gun Jayson Tatum, and whilst the USA camp is an opportunity for him to learn and grow, he understands the Celtics can fast track their togetherness even before training camp commences.

 

“Yeah, it’s been pretty cool that theres four of us on this team, four of us get to go on this journey together and build some really good chemistry for the season and especially with Kemba coming in

 

Last but not least, Jaylen Brown was a little more relaxed when answering the question, and gave a very realistic and humble answer to the Celtics’ team chemistry. Joking around with Tatum, Brown told Open Court he learned from last year not to put any expectations on anything and to focus on the season opener.

 

“Ahh it can’t help us, we’re going to see, everyone is putting expectations on it and what I learnt from last year I ain’t putting expectations on nothing. Like said man, we’ll see, Octobter 1st.

 

 

There’s no denying this experience with Team USA will greatly benefit the Celtics moving forward and to start the new NBA season. They have a unique opportunity most NBA teams do not have, and that is the ability to build chemistry in a competitive and winning environment earlier than usual. 

It’s obvious to see they are all very close off the court, but it’s going to be what they produce inside TD Garden and beyond that will determine how successful their upcoming season will be.  

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