Boston Celtics fans got a first-hand look at the stellar season rookie forward Jayson Tatum would produce when he dazzled crowds during the NBA’s Summer League in 2017.
It’s not super unusual for players to go back to summer league after their rookie season — Celtics forward Jaylen Brown did it last summer and wound up taking a huge step forward in his development as a second-year pro.
But don’t expect an encore performance from Tatum in Las Vegas this summer.
“We knew it about 50 games into the season,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Wednesday, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. “But look at it — he just played in (99) games. I think it would be crazy to put him into the summer league.”
Tatum played a ton of games and minutes this season. He earned them with his impressive play, but it also was out of necessity as Boston dealt with tons of injuries — several to its most important players — throughout the 2017-18 campaign.
The Duke product played 29 games for the Blue Devils in 2016-17, and then 99 including the playoffs for the C’s as a rookie. That’s 70 (!) more games in only one season.
Tatum’s primary focus over the summer should be adding physical strength. This would allow him to be more effective in the low post and protect the ball better on drives to the basket.
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