After a standout 2017-18 season as a rookie with the Celtics, Jayson Tatum had high expectations for last season, both coming from himself as well as the NBA community.
Despite not living up to them in the past, he has set the bar even higher for next season.
“I want to be one of the best,” Tatum said, following Team USA’s practice Tuesday. “There’s a lot of challenges that come with that. I’m excited.”
On paper, Tatum didn’t appear to take big steps backwards last season. He improved points, steals, assists, and rebounds per game. However, both his field goal shooting percentage and 3-point shooting percentage declined.
Still, the 21-year-old wanted more from himself.
“Man, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing from last season,” Tatum said. “All my stats were better, I did better, just not the jump that I expected, and the rest of the world expected. Which, I should have known with the team, the dynamics, we had so many guys, so many talented people trying to win a championship and everybody had to sacrifice and step back a little bit. It didn’t work.”
“Last year is behind us,” he added. “Everybody is kind of tired of talking about last season. We got a new team, new guys, so we’re just trying to move on, get ready for next season.”
One of Tatum’s goals for next year is improving his communication. Although he’s young, having a few years of NBA experience under his belt can make a big difference in terms of leadership on the court, and Tatum is ready to step up in that sense too.
“Be more assertive, be more vocal than I was in my first two years,” he said. “I was really the new guy so I didn’t say too much. But now I’ve earned the respect of the coaches and teammates and people around the league so just being able to talk a little bit more.”
While Tatum has been critical of himself, Jaylen Brown shared he thinks Tatum still played well last season.
“I think he had a solid year. He’s probably his toughest critic,” Brown said. “I didn’t think he had as bad a year as he probably though he did. I think he still produced, I think he still got to show people what he can do.”
“I’m sure in his eyes, he has a lot more he wants to show the world, as do I. So I can feel him in that regard,” Brown added. “He had a solid year, it wasn’t as bad as people tried to make it out to be.”
Brown has made it clear that it’s time to move on from last season, and he and Tatum have both pushed each other as young teammates. Brown only has one more season of NBA experience than Tatum, but they both have the same focus: to show that a young Celtics team can live up to its potential next season.
“This year, I look at it as a new canvas,” Brown said. “We’re artists, and it’s time to paint.”
Full article @ Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum: ‘I want to be one of the best’
Source: GreenStreet Blog