Amick: Tell me, when the Ime situation unfolds, how did it hit you? And how did you handle your voice, whether it’s conversations with (Celtics president of basketball operations) Brad (Stevens), conversations with Joe (Mazzulla)? You have a lot of influence in this organization and capital. So how did you move, and how did you navigate it?
Tatum: Uh, it was confusing. Even to this day, there’s so much that — I guess for legal reasons — they can’t explain. So it’s like a vague situation, and there’s a lot of things they felt like they couldn’t say. So it kind of left a lot of us in the dark. You see things on the internet. You don’t know what is true, what’s not true, what to believe. It’s just an unfortunate situation.
Amick: Was that frustrating, especially if you’re not fully understanding everything?
Tatum: Yeah, extremely frustrating, because you had this mindset of how we’re going to approach the season, how we’re gonna start, and then now we don’t have our head coach, somebody that I give a lot of credit to. He helped us get to that point, got us playing together, playing better. Ime deserves as much credit as anybody. Ime deserves a lot of credit for how he got us playing, and Joe has stepped up and found his own voice and obviously has got us rolling now. But I feel like Ime, especially last year, righted the ship to get us playing the right way.
Weiss: You had this identity you really grew into last year with your coach. Then you have the coaching change, obviously, everyone’s like, ‘Is that identity still gonna remain?’ Your team’s a little different in how you guys are playing this year, but the identity is still there. So how much of that process last year fortified who you guys are so it doesn’t really matter who else is around?
Brown: I think Ime did a good job when he came in and built the system around us. Like, he built it around our individual talent of what we did well and what (were) our superpowers. Like, Rob (Williams), gave him the freedom to make plays. He let me and Jayson be who we are, but in a combination of moving the ball and doing other things. Defensively, he told us, ‘See a play, make a play.’ The system was built around us and that was just a different coaching style than we were used to previously.
So I think Joe’s done a good job of keeping that in place, where it’s like the system is built around what we do well, not that we are built into the system. In addition to that, he just added some components about moving the ball. I guess it’s like soccer-style of play that he keeps reintroducing as well. But he’s (integrated) all of that combined into one. So it’s just been like a gradual addition from Brad Stevens to Ime, everything’s kind of just building on top of each other. It’s not like one guy’s responsible for everything, but everybody’s contribution is what we’re being able to see now.
Without Brad Stevens, Ime wouldn’t have been able to thrive in that position. Without Ime, Joe wouldn’t be here. Everybody, everything has been part of cultivating what we see now. All the fans, all the media, everything has been brewing (toward) helping us get to where we’re at now. And hopefully, it’ll keep going so we can get over the hump.