Celtics star Jayson Tatum laughs at ridiculous criticisms that he doesn’t care about winning
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is taking the recent criticisms of his play in stride. After all, he and his teammates know very well what he is all about.
Tatum was on the receiving end of massive backlash recently for his rather inconsistent play with the Celtics. While there were times he shined really bright–looking like the All-Star he is–there were also several moments he disappeared and struggled to score. While he is not the only one to blame, his stretches of poor play have certainly affected Boston in their 12-11 start to the 2021-22 campaign.
In fact, as Tatum and the Celtics continue to have a hard time finding some rhythm and consistency, an anonymous Eastern Conference assistant coach told ESPN that the 23-year-old forward doesn’t care about winning.
“Jayson Tatum is about Jayson Tatum,” the anonymous 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.”
After seeing the comments, though, Jayson Tatum didn’t get mad at all and admitted he couldn’t help but laugh about it. He shared his understanding of the criticisms, but he also clarified that it is nowhere near from the truth.
“I laughed,” the Celtics star said of the comment, per The Athletic. “”I think when people get upset or you get a reaction out of somebody, it’s probably because they feel like it’s kind of true. But I just laughed because I know it’s not true. I know my teammates, my coaches, anybody I’ve ever been around, selfish is the last thing.”
For what it is worth, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens also couldn’t believe the comments made by the Eastern Conference coach. He defended Tatum and highlighted his desire to win at all costs before calling the remarks “ridiculous” and “idiotic.”
“Just be around this guy everyday. He loves to win. He’s sitting there with his feet in the ice bucket after we lose and looking despondent. This guy’s competitive. I know that for a fact. I’m glad he’s on the Celtics,” Stevens said of Tatum.
Jayson Tatum is putting up 24.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, slightly down averages from the previous season but still higher compared to his career averages. However, his overall production hasn’t really translated to that many wins for the Celtics as they find difficulty stringing wins together.
In their last five games against the Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz, Tatum couldn’t be more inconsistent. Against the Nets and Spurs, he scored 15 and 24 respectively. However, he made just a total of eighth points against the Raptors before exploding for 26 and 37 in their showdown with the Sixers and Jazz.
Tatum himself acknowledged his struggles, which is why the criticisms have been widespread.
It is still early in the season and the Celtics still have enough time to turn the season around as they remain ninth in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, Tatum knows very well that the only way he can silence his doubters is through winning games and leading Boston to the playoffs like he has done in the past couple of years.
If he does, no one will question his winning mentality again–at least not for this season.