BOSTON — Jayson Tatum has accomplished so much in his five-year NBA career, but he and the Boston Celtics ultimately fell short in the NBA Finals.
The Golden State Warriors finished the job Thursday night, defeating the Celtics in Game 6, 103-90. Boston achieved many highs throughout the year, but the finals was not one of them. Tatum is still only 24 years old, and there is likely more All-NBA and All-Star selections in his future. But for Ime Udoka, he noted what Tatum will have to take away from this finals experience.
“Learn and understand who he is in this league,” Udoka said. “You’re an All-Star, All-NBA First Team guy for a reason. This is only the start of how you’re going to be guarded and the attention you’re going to draw. One thing that he’s always done throughout the season was seeing multiple different coverages and figured it out. He did that throughout the first few series.”
Tatum was shut down in Game 6, scoring only 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting. Andrew Wiggins, in particular, was the main man for the Warriors to guard Tatum. Udoka explained how the 2022 NBA Finals are just the “the next step” in Tatum’s career.
“This was one a rough one,” Udoka added. “Very consistent team that did some things to limit him and make others pay. For him, it’s just continuing to grow and understand you’re going to see this the rest of your career. This is just a start. The growth he showed as a playmaker this year and in certain areas, I think this is the next step for him.
“Figuring that out, getting to where some of the veterans are that have seen everything and took their lumps early in their careers. Like I said, very motivated guy that works extremely hard, high IQ, intelligent guy that will learn from this and figure it out. I think it will propel him to go forward, definitely motivate him.”
Tatum and the Celtics will be focused on recovering in the offseason and retooling the team for another championship run, where, hopefully, they came away with banner No. 18 in the end.