Aron Baynes says former Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown could break out as stars
The Aussie mauler has always been fond of the two young players, who now embark in a mission to prove doubters wrong after more than half of the originally summoned 20 players decommited from participating. Baynes has seen Tatum up close and has been aware of his capabilities since he was drafted into the league.
“Definitely [he’s ready to reach superstar status],” Baynes said in Melbourne as the Boomers prepare for their two-game series against Team USA, according to ESPN.
“He’s so talented – even from the first day I played with him when he was a rookie in his first preseason, you could see how talented he was offensively and he also wants to work on the defensive end which isn’t common in the NBA – some guys live on that offensive talent but he wants to develop his all-round game. He’s going to be a fun one to continue to watch.”
Tatum and Brown have something to prove by joining Team USA, which also serves as some much-needed preseason bonding with new point guard Kemba Walker. While many turned down the opportunity, this could be a priceless chance for them to develop prior to the 2019-20 NBA season.
“Those younger guys [Tatum and Brown] are thirsty to go out and improve their game and there’s no better place than the summer time playing international ball against some of the best players in the world,” said Baynes, now a member of the Phoenix Suns.
“Those guys are still in their rookie contracts and they’re looking to prove themselves over the next couple of years and they definitely have all the tools to do it. They’re competitors, I’ve played against them all the time in practice and I know what they’re capable of … and it’s fun to play alongside them. But right now they’re wearing the wrong colors and I’m not going to take a backward step against them.”
Team USA will face Australia on Thursday, Aug. 22 and Saturday Aug. 24 before taking on Canada on Monday Aug. 26 to close out the exhibition stage and travel to China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.