Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum’s wrist injury couldn’t have had worse timing. Joe Mazzulla, as NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg notes, Tatum has proven ready for an expanded role at the point guard spot; initiating the offense with increased dribbling and driving. But a wrist injury may make putting the ball in his hands more counterproductive in the long haul. After all, there’s not a more important ingredient, based on past performance at least, for Boston’s Banner 18 hopes.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported on the September 29 edition of “NBA Today” that Tatum was close to needing surgery but opted instead for the kind of treatment his idol Kobe Bryant was known for.
“He went into the offseason thinking he might need surgery on his non-shooting wrist,” Shelburne prefaced before saying, “Went to a bunch of specialists and essentially decided, ‘I’m not gonna get the surgery, I don’t need it,’ got a cortisone shot, he said it feels really good. And now that he’s going to be having more of a ball-handling role because Marcus Smart is not there anymore, he said, ‘I basically did this all last year during the playoffs. I’m very comfortable in that role initiating the defense.'”
Crucial juncture approaches for Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum
After a while, the “Tatum’s 19” gag is going to start becoming disrespectful. That he was essentially the franchise’s No. 1 option during his rookie season’s Eastern Conference Finals run for the Boston Celtics, skewed future expectations for the Duke product; as did the return trips to the postseason’s penultimate round and the unlikely 2022 Finals run.
But as he progresses through his career, he should be seen as having come into his own at some point. Not 19.
A title run would certainly do that. With a Supermax teammate in Jaylen Brown and an offseason addition in Kristaps Porzingis whose skillset once earned him the nickname “unicorn,” there are not many excuses for not shedding the “hasn’t been there” type labels anymore.