An ESPN profile on the Boston Celtics’ fall from NBA Finals contention revealed that an Eastern Conference coach sees Jayson Tatum as selfish.
When Marcus Smart called on teammates Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to “pass the ball” earlier this month, it furthered the notion that these two young wings flanking the Celtics offense seem to hold onto the ball.
“Every team knows we are trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen, and every team is programmed and studies to stop Jayson and Jaylen,” Smart said at the time. “I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys try to pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball. “
A team meeting ensued the next day, and the Celtics have pulled themselves together to push forward in the Eastern Conference rankings.
The Celtics have won 8 of 11 games since their Nov. 1 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Still, the Boston team sits at eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 10-8 record. The seven teams ranked above them have been angling for the top spot all season, begging the question as to whether or not the historic Celtics could make a push for Banner 18.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps explored where the Celtics are now on their “rocky road” back to NBA Finals contention. Bontemps journeys through where the team has traveled since their last Finals appearance, losing key players like Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier and Kemba Walker, among others.
Anonymous league sources weighed in on where the Celtics have been and where they are headed with their current roster, hiding cutting comments behind anonymity.
An Eastern Conference scout said, “you can’t keep losing – albeit flawed – All-Star talent like Kyrie, Gordon, Kemba, Horford. That adds up. “
With the losses adding up, all the Celtics are left with are Tatum and Brown, who apparently fail their team as the next generation of Celtics leaders.
“Jaylen and Jayson aren’t making anyone better,” a Western Conference scout said. “I put that on them.”
Anonymous NBA sources weigh in on Jayson Tatum being about Jayson Tatum
While the Western Conference scout Bontemps spoke to offered poor reviews of the young wings, an assistant Eastern Conference coach delved even further into Jayson Tatum’s apparent selfishness.
“Jayson Tatum is about Jayson Tatum,” an Eastern Conference assistant coach said. “I don’t think he cares about winning now, and if he does, it is on his terms.
“He doesn’t want to score 15 and win. He wants to score 39 and win. “
Another unnamed source in the Eastern Conference spoke on how the Celtics, led by Tatum and Brown, don’t seem to support each other as teammates should.
“They’ve looked like [players that] legitimately don’t enjoy each other’s success, and it’s been like that for years, ”an Eastern Conference executive said. “The fact it’s still rearing its head is not surprising in that regard.”
Bontemps’ reporting covers the Celtics journey from all angles, including those outside of the organization. The talk spells trouble for an organization that is more rooted in winning culture than nearly every other NBA team, but that is no longer the case in Boston.
With Tatum and Brown at the helm, the Celtics could continue to, as one league executive put it, remain “stuck in neutral – and maybe going backwards.”