Though we still hear jokes about how Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is turning 19 every time his birthday rolls around, the truth of the matter is that he’s been around for quite a while.
The 25-year-old just completed his sixth NBA regular season and is now taking part in his sixth postseason, all with the Celtics. Tatum has been in Boston through a lot, playing for three head coaches and alongside the likes of Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving all the way to his present role alongside Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford and company.
Essentially, he’s seen it all with the Celtics. That’s why his compliment for new teammate Malcolm Brogdon means so much.
“I always kind of hated playing against Malcolm,” Tatum said Friday, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. “When he was in Milwaukee, when he was in Indiana. Just always knew how to play the game. Very competitive. Played hard. Competed. Dog on the defensive end and obviously can create. One of those guys that was kind of tough to play against. When I found out he was coming to the team, I was really excited.”
Tatum was right to be excited, as Brogdon’s addition to the Celtics bench has unlocked a whole new level of depth to a team who saw that come around to bite them in the 2022 NBA Finals. The offseason focus was centered around building confidence that the bench wouldn’t let Boston down again.
The newly minted NBA Sixth Man of the Year has done more than enough to build that confidence, as he ranked first in minutes played (1743.8), second in made field goals (354), third in total points (1,000) and clutch points (42) and fourth in assists (248) among reserve players this regular season. It makes sense why Tatum didn’t like playing against that kind of production.