Jaylen Brown makes interesting Marcus Smart remark after Boston Celtics' Eastern Conference Finals win

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Five
Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics - Game Five / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Jaylen Brown claimed that the Boston Celtics advancing to the 2024 NBA Finals was a byproduct of his taking over the Marcus Smart role following the blockbuster offseason trade that sent No. 36 to the Memphis Grizzlies and brought back Kristaps Porzingis; who hasn't played since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Miami Heat.

“We had some guys leave so I wanted to make sure that void was filled,” Brown said of his leadership (h/t MassLive). “Marcus Smart, one of my brothers that got traded, he was one of the voices of our team. And when he wasn’t here I wanted to make sure I stepped in. I wanted to make sure that everybody felt me and everybody knew what the standard was. We didn’t skip no steps all season. I think we played the right way every single game. I thought everybody (was) accountable. And this is the byproduct.”

Brown was likely trying to give Smart credit for being the previous torch-bearer from a leadership perspective for nine years. Still, the idea that an Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Indiana Pacers -- that followed two 4-1 series wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Heat -- was a "byproduct" of Brown taking over the leadership role can be taken the wrong way.

Boston Celtics' dominance justifying trades of Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Robert Williams III

A core that comes within one game of the NBA Finals usually doesn't get broken up, but the Celtics did the unthinkable this past offseason by trading away their defensive leader and locker room heart and soul, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, and the team's top rim protector.

And it worked in every way imaginable.

Brad Stevens won the Executive of the Year Award for his efforts, and in truth, it wasn't even close. Stevens took a major gamble that could've disrupted the locker room, but it turned out to create the best starting lineup in the league -- and better yet, his shrewd moves to fill out the bench tied it all together.

It has worked out almost perfectly in Boston. Four more wins removes the "almost" from that sentence.