Jayson Tatum is coming off a season in which he earned All-NBA honors and his first All-Star nod.
It wouldn’t be too drastic to say that Tatum was approaching a near-superstar level before the league’s shutdown in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tatum, though, rebounded well. The 2017 first-rounder put together a postseason in which he scored 20-plus points in all but three of the Celtics’ 17 postseason games. He finished the season averaging 23.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
And now, entering his fourth year in the league, Tatum is ready to reach the next level. He’s expressed a number of ways in which he can improve that ultimately could help get him there.
“Just building off the playoffs, facilitating more, things like that,” Tatum told reporters Thursday. “Being more efficient, getting stronger, being even more of a defensive threat, on the defensive end. I just want to continue to get better in every aspect.”
Another one of those aspects is in regards to leadership. The soft-spoken Tatum is the team’s best player, and it means he’ll be looked to by young Celtics like Grant Williams, Robert Williams, Romeo Langford and first-rounders Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith to provide a veteran presence.
“Everybody leads in their own way, got to be a little more vocal,” Tatum said. “Just as I continue to get older, younger and newer guys come into the league, come into the organization. I’m kind of a lead by example guy. (I) show up every day on time, early, stay late, extra shots, stay in the weight room, do my job type of guy. But obviously, you know, being more vocal when I need to be, saying what I can to help guys out.”
Tatum and the Celtics should have another promising season ahead. It will begin when Boston opens its season against the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 23.