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June 9, 2022

Jaylen Brown

Boston Celtics

Practice Day

Q. Jaylen, the difference between making the right pass a step earlier than you would when you guys are turning it over as a team, that Ime talks about. What's the difference there? What are you seeing on the floor when the pass is there, just that step or two sooner?

JAYLEN BROWN: Spacing. It's been like that all season. Spacing is the key. We get the floor nice and spaced, you can see everything a lot easier. A lot of times during the year we'll get on top of each other, and we'll drive. There's no outlets. That's when you start to see a lot of the turnovers. A lot of the time it's our spacing.

Q. You and Jayson, obviously, are known more for your offense, but you've been bringing it defensively throughout this series. How much do you think it gives a spark to the team as a whole when they see you out there locking down guys on defense, Jayson doing the same? And then the same with your chase-down blocks? How do you think that inspires the rest of the roster?

JAYLEN BROWN: It's who we are. It's who we've been. Play both sides of the ball. Everybody on our team, it sets a tone. From the top to the bottom, when you step on that court, you better bring it on both ends of the ball. So it sends messages to everybody. To Payton, Grant, to Aaron, whoever is coming into the game, we hold each other accountable on that end.

Obviously, me and Jayson have been here for a large majority of the time. It just sets the whole wavelength for everybody. Like, if we're doing it, everybody got to do it.

We've been doing it all season. We've been guarding on both ends of the ball, so we just got to keep doing that.

Q. Jayson is averaging 23 points per game from his assists alone. How valuable is it to have him not only score at the level he does, but also dish out assists at that high level?

JAYLEN BROWN: It's everything, to be honest. A lot of times, the majority of media companies praise the scoring ability and things like that, but in so many different ways you can affect the game -- rebounding, making plays, the hockey assists as well. Those are all things that help teams win. Jayson is committed to that, making the right play and doing whatever it takes to win, whether it's rebounding, whether it's guarding, whether it's a box-out, whether it's setting screens. All that stuff is important.

I know we all talk about scoring the ball because that's what everybody likes to see, the ball go in the hoop. But those little things is what helps you win championships.

Q. I was just wondering, you missed the end of last season with the wrist injury and had to watch the first-round, five-game exit, and now you're two games from winning a title. I just wonder if you reflect on where you were roughly this time a year ago?

JAYLEN BROWN: Where I was? I'm not even sure. Probably somewhere watching the playoffs at this time last year. And it hurt, to be honest. It hurt watching that Brooklyn series knowing I could be effective, knowing I could help my team win. But having to sit over there watching our guys fight and compete, watching J.T. out there fighting and competing, and I'm just on the sideline in street clothes.

Playoffs is my favorite time of the year. It's what I love about basketball. It's real basketball. Last year having to watch was hard for me, so that's why this year this playoff run has been so special.

Q. During the draft process, can you describe what you were thinking? Like, what did you know about the Celtics when they drafted you third? What was going through your mind about the franchise? What did you think it was going to be like to live here? Then, I know you're in the middle at the moment, but are you trying to capture kind of the journey and getting to this level and almost -- you're close to what you want, but just being in the Finals and how far you've come. Have you kind of tried not to think about that, or have you kind of taken some time to think about that?

JAYLEN BROWN: I didn't really know too much about the Celtics when I was drafted. I wasn't sure if I was going to be here. I know they had a lot of wings at the time. I know I wanted to come in and play, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be here.

But fast forward, things turned out pretty good. It's hard for me to reflect on moments when I'm in the heart of the storm, but everything, all the adversity, all the ups and downs and negative things, indirectly and directly, has helped build me to where I'm at. Things weren't given to me here. I feel like I haven't always been put in the best position to be the best version of myself, and that's aided me into getting better and to working harder.

Sometimes the things that you complain about most can be your biggest blessings. So everything that I've learned and acquired here directly or indirectly has helped me, and I think it's going to help me going forward. If I would have to reflect, I'm just grateful for each and every experience that you go through because it just makes you who you are.

Q. Ime was just in here talking about how well you were playing as a playmaker last night and how you've grown in that throughout the season. As you came into the season, that was a big focus at the start of training camp. How do you feel like that's grown throughout the year, and where do you feel like it has specifically improved?

JAYLEN BROWN: Just experience. I feel like this is a year where I've been able to play with the ball in my hands a lot more. Ime has made an emphasis on that. Other years prior, I think my sample size was a lot smaller.

I appreciate Ime for having that trust in me and having that belief in me to be, like, no, we're going to put the ball in his hands. Everything else has been just growth from there.

Experience is the best teacher. The way I learn things is just by putting me in the middle of it. So being able to get those reps all season long have helped in the playoffs now, so shout-out to Ime for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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