Jaylen Brown says Celtics must fix ‘toxic’ environment
SAN FRANCISCO — Despite his improved play in the past few weeks and his warming to his reserve role, Jaylen Brown said he’s unhappy with the Celtics losing, saying that he and his teammates have to try to fix the “toxic” environment.
Brown is one of the few players to have played well throughout the team’s pitfalls, but the Celtics are one of the league’s most disappointing teams this season, having lost seven of their last 10 games and sinking to fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Brown said the environment with the team hasn’t been positive and needs to change.
“To be honest, I’m not feeling good at all,” Brown said. “The losing, it’s not a good feeling. I’m not too good about that.
“Because right now it’s not good. It’s toxic. I can’t really point out one thing. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just going to try to be part of the change. I’m going to try to do my best. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
When asked how he helps change the culture, Brown said: “I just try to come out and play hard and hopefully that sparks some [change]. But it’s not just up to one person. It’s up to the whole group.
“Everybody has to be on page,” he said. “If one person’s not on page, it’s going to affect the whole group. I just try to come out and play hard and see where that leaves me.”
Brown said the Celtics can still reach their potential after a season’s worth of disappointing losses and lackadaisical stretches.
“I still believe,” he said. “I think we’ve got time to get it together. I’m very optimistic and very positive and think that we will . . . We keep talking about it. I’m just going to try to do it with my play, come out and play hard and try to change the atmosphere and this environment.”
Stevens on chemistry
Coach Brad Stevens has become more open about the Celtics’ struggles with chemistry and consistency, and he acknowledged the team hasn’t been playing together for most of the season.
“This is all about being together,” Stevens said. “We have not repeated with the right connected level for a lot of the year. But we can do it and we have done it and that’s going to have to be a choice. Ultimately, that’s on all of us. We’re all responsible for that. The thing I love most about basketball is when a team comes together. We haven’t yet. So we’ll see.
“If we do, we’ll have a chance to be a good basketball team and see where that can lead us. If we don’t, we won’t be playing very long.”
Stevens would not say whether he would make lineup changes for Tuesday. Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward have been struggling mightily since the All-Star break.
“We have to play better,” Stevens said. “There are certainly things we are always going to consider, always look at changing, but the bottom line is we have to have some consistency to us in our play. A couple of guys have shown themselves to start to get really comfortable right now as we’re struggling. Hopefully we can get the rest of the group back playing at a good rate together. If we can get six or seven guys on a given night playing well together, then we’d be a good team.”
Center Al Horford said the players aren’t especially close, but those relationships can be repaired and improved in the short term.
“Being on the road, forcing us to rally together, I think it’s going to be for the best,” he said. “I think it helps tremendously. It really does help. It makes everything easier on the floor. You don’t have to be best friends, but there has to be a certain level of connection.
“I think [ours] is OK. I think it can be better. [This trip] gives us a lot of time to hang out with one another. I think it will be best in the long run.”