Jayson Tatum is the kind of elite talent the Celtics need if they if want to be championship-caliber, but is he a good enough leader?
Many have criticized Tatum’s leadership style as Boston has fumbled to one of its most disappointing seasons in recent memory. Mike Gorman, of all people, recently indicated Tatum isn’t ready to lead the Celtics to the top of the NBA mountain.
But the 23-year-old disputed that notion Tuesday afternoon.
“Everybody is different, right?” Tatum said while speaking to reporters ahead of Boston’s play-in tournament matchup against the Washington Wizards. “And I’m sure the people who watch the games and give their opinion on what happens kind of want you to be a certain way. (They) think that, if you’re yelling and screaming and stuff like that, that that necessarily makes you a leader. It works for some guys. Certain that we could name plenty of other guys who were special and led their team … in a quieter way, just cause of their demeanor. Not necessarily yelling an screaming on the court or in the huddle so everyone can see.
“It can be in how you play, how you show up every day, pulling guys to the side — everybody won’t see that. I’m certain that people think that since I’m not overly emotional or do things like that, they kinda can question whatever they wanna question. Leadership comes in all different types of fashions. I just do it in my own way.”
That’s all well and good, and Tatum does have a point. But results matter, and right now he’s the top dog on a team that has fallen dramatically short of expectations.
Tatum and the Celtics will look to clinch the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday when they face the Wizards. If they lose, they’ll be forced to play in a win-or-go-home game Thursday night.