The 2020 NBA All-Star Game impacted the Boston Celtics in more ways than one, according to head coach Brad Stevens.
On one hand, the Celtics earned a pair of well-deserved representatives with first-time selection Jayson Tatum and multi-time All-Star Kemba Walker. Jaylen Brown, however, was held off the team despite putting together an impressive resume.
Stevens, though, said he’s been impressed with how both scenarios played out.
“When Tatum got named an All-Star, Tatum went to a different level. And when Jaylen didn’t get named an All-Star, Jaylen went to a different level,” Stevens told reporters Tuesday, per the team. “That’s a great response by both guys in two different circumstances.”
Tatum, of course, did indeed reach a different level after the NBA revealed the game’s reserves Jan. 30. You don’t need to look any further than the 22-year-old winning the Eastern Conference Player of the Month in February.
But Brown, as Stevens noted, put together a memorable stretch of his own. In the 11 games Brown was active after the league’s All-Star announcement, he averaged 21.8 points per game.
Stevens also commended Gordon Hayward, a former All-Star himself, for how he handled the two youngsters rise to stardom, per The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.
And now, the Celtics will rely on all four — the 2020 All Star’s Walker and Tatum and non All-Stars Brown and Hayward — to make a run to the NBA Finals.
Boston will begin its eight seeding games July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.