Jayson Tatum wasn’t always the Boston Celtics’ alpha, and his father believes that’s a good thing.
Justin Tatum told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach this week he’s thankful the Celtics didn’t depend on his son for success when he first entered the league.
Boston selected Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Although high expectations greeted his arrival, that season’s Celtics already had NBA All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, who could lead the team on and off the court, giving Tatum time to find his footing in the Association. All-Star forward Gordon Hayward returned from injury in 2018-19, lightening Tatum’s burden in his second season. Kemba Walker then joined Boston ahead of 2019-20, following the exits of Irving and Horford.
By that time Tatum was ready to take the leap into superstardom, a level he has more or less maintained ever since.
“I’m glad all of this came onto his shoulders during his fifth year rather than his first,” Justin Tatum said. “Now he’s matured and had superstars around him, had success, and now when he has to carry the load he’s mature enough and ready to do it.”
Although the 2021-22 Celtics are slightly better than a .500 team, Jayson Tatum is enjoying another All-Star caliber season.
Joining a good team put him on a path of steady growth, which is paying off.