One of the marks of a true NBA superstar is not what they can do for themselves on the basketball court. Rather, it's what they do for their teammates.
Guys like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo don't just put up their own numbers, but they also have the ability to help others get theirs.
In Boston, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are facing that challenge right now. As the duo puts up impressive performances, the rest of the roster is left wanting more and it has played heavily into the team's struggles right now.
Things have gotten so bad that Celtics legend Robert Parish felt compelled to call them out on SiriusXM Radio on Friday.
“Brown and Tatum don’t have the ability to make their teammates better,” said Parish. “One of the reasons we were so successful going back to the 80s was because of Larry [Bird’s] ability to make people around him better.”
“When Brown and Tatum are doing their thing, everyone’s just standing around. They only have, really, two scorers, so if one of them is struggling, the Celtics don’t have a chance to win. Brown and Tatum have to be spectacular, and that’s impossible to do every night.”
The big moment for the Celtics came back in early November when Marcus Smart publicly called out the Js for their selfish style of play.
"Every team knows we're trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen. Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody's scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball. They don't want to pass the ball."
"We're proud of the progress they're making, but they're going to have to make another step and find ways to not only create for themselves but create for others on this team to open up the court for them later down in the game where they're always going to have to take those tough shots or take tough matchups when they do get the 1-on-1 or they bring the trap..."
The Celtics have lost several key players over the past few years, including Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. It's reasonable to expect the team to regress after those losses.
But Boston is 9th in the East this season, with a 23-23 record through 46 games. For a team with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford, that's just not enough.
Perhaps it's time for Tatum and Brown to step back, re-assess, and heed the words of Robert Parish if they want to turn things around this season.