Jaylen Brown credits success to players like Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward leaving Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics Media Day
Boston Celtics Media Day / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Jaylen Brown credits his maturity and improvement in recent years to "big-name players" no longer being on the Boston Celtics; undoubtedly a reference to max contract signings/acquisitions like Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

“Just natural maturity," Brown said when asked how his game has come together (h/t WEEI). "One, you get better through experience. You get older, more skilled, more professional. More opportunity. I think throughout the years my opportunity has varied, not because of my lack of skill-set, just because a lot of big-time players have come through this organization. So I was just patient, kept getting better, and now it’s my time.”

While never mentioning the pair by name, it's obvious that the former All-Stars were the subjects of his comments. Hayward was a direct threat to Brown's minutes -- though No. 20 never did solidify his own role in Boston and was often coming off the pine during his Celtics tenure -- while Irving's one full season with the Cs saw Brown benched in favor of Marcus Smart.

Brown is too professional to call out former teammates by name, but read the tea leaves and you understand exactly who he's talking about. And it's not a call-out either. Brown's development happened in large part due to increased opportunities.

Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson 'poisoned' Jayson Tatum's brain during Boston Celtics tenures

Locked On Celtics podcast host John Karalis has gone on record and accused Irving and Tristan Thompson of poisoning Jayson Tatum's brain during their separate tenures with the team in 2017-19 (in Irving's case) and 2020-21 (in Thompson's).

“I keep going back to Kyrie (Irving) and Tristan Thompson,” Karalis prefaced before saying, “And I swear I feel like they poisoned Tatum’s brain. I feel like those guys, at the beginning, Tatum learned from Kyrie, that the regular season doesn’t matter. You’ve learned from Tristan Thompson that the regular season doesn’t matter. And I just don’t think he puts the same value (on the regular season). I really, I honestly believe that.”

Brown's ascension comes from increased opportunities related to the pair's departures, but Tatum's career-year in 2023-24 may be a product of separation via the passage of time from Irving and Thompson's time in Boston.