Nick Wright (Of Course) Downplays Jayson Tatum Hype After 50-Point Game

Wright still isn't ready to call Tatum a "superstar"


Nick Wright undoubtedly will be the last person on the Jayson Tatum bandwagon.

Tatum has evolved into an NBA All-Star in his four seasons with the Boston Celtics, yet Wright remains hesitant to place a “superstar” label on the 23-year-old.

A 50-point performance from Tatum in Boston’s 118-100 win over the Washington Wizards in the teams’ Eastern Conference play-in tournament game Tuesday night did nothing to change Wright’s opinion.

“NBA superstars are like wonders of the world: There’s less than 10 and as soon as you expand it, they all lose value,” Wright said Wednesday on FS1’s “First Things First,” before rattling off a list of 11 players whom he believes are undisputedly better than Tatum.

The list: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Don?i?, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Joki? and Anthony Davis.

Fair enough.

Wright then listed a few more names — Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler — whom he would have above Tatum on his personal list. This, Wright argued, puts Tatum more in line with a group that includes the likes of Paul George, Zion Williamson, Bam Adebayo, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

“He’s in that group — guys that maybe, might be superstars one day, or, in Russ’ case for example, were a superstar once upon a time but are not anymore,” Wright said. “But that doesn’t take away from what he did (Tuesday). It was the signature performance of his career.”

It should be noted that Wright didn’t totally dump on Tatum’s performance against the Wizards, which sets up a date between Boston and the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

In fact, Wright directed most of his criticism toward Danny Ainge, the architect of a flawed Celtics team that posted a 36-36 record in the regular season and seemingly has no chance against the Nets, especially with Jaylen Brown out for the postseason after undergoing wrist surgery.

“It is fair to say: Why the hell were you .500 and the Hawks 10 games over? Why were you .500 and the Knicks 10 games over? Why were you .500, Danny Ainge, and the team your arch nemesis, Pat Riley, rebuilt, Miami, almost 10 games over .500 despite dealing with so many issues all through the year,” Wright said. “That’s the group of teams that this Celtics team, when you’ve got future superstar Jayson Tatum and All-Star Jaylen Brown … why are you in the play-in game and the Hawks aren’t? Why is Jayson Tatum gonna struggle to make All-NBA because of the lack of team success and Julius Randle might be Second-Team (All-NBA) because of his team’s success?

“That’s the bittersweet portion of this for the Celtics. It’s like, ‘Man, this guy (Tatum) is awesome, and he had Jaylen throughout the year. So why the hell were we 36-36?’ And the answer is because the team was built very, very poorly.”

Wright is no stranger to spewing Celtics hate. So it should come as no surprise that he was able to sprinkle a little negativity — and maybe reality? — on what otherwise was a sensational effort by Tatum and the C’s on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

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