Jayson Tatum's key shortcoming for Boston Celtics keeps him out of MJ, Kobe, LeBron, Jokic conversation

Jan 28, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and Los Angeles
Jan 28, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and Los Angeles / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports' Bill Reiter believes that Jayson Tatum's lack of clutch-time success for the Boston Celtics in big moments over the past few seasons keeps him out of the Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant-LeBron James-Nikola Jokic conversation.

"The fact remains that Tatum can be quite unreliable -- read: often bad -- in the clutch," Reiter prefaced before saying, "This is not a hot take, and it's more than some poor outings in the 2022 NBA Finals or last year's Eastern Conference Finals. The data is clear, and the sample size is large.

"This is not breaking news, but worth repeating: Teams need star players to play like stars in tight playoff situations in order to go where they want to go. Think Jordan. Think Kobe. Think LeBron. Think Jokic."

Reiter didn't specifically mention the G.O.A.T. conversations that those players find themselves in, but the implication was there. Tatum, by virtue of being the best player on a franchise with legitimate future dynastic hopes, bears the narrative burden of needing to reach the heights those four have.

In reality, though, he doesn't actually have to.

Jayson Tatum can be to Boston Celtics what Steph Curry was to Warriors

Steph Curry never carried the weight of being the best player for his team every postseason en route to his four championships. In fact, he only had to be that once, in 2022. And you know what? No one is going to view him as anything less. Curry is still an all-time offensive player with four rings on his fingers.

Tatum doesn't need to be the best player either. He has a teammate in Jaylen Brown who can end up being better than every teammate Jordan, Bryant, and James outside of Shaquille O'Neal. Yes, that includes Scottie Pippen and Dwyane Wade. Kristaps Porzingis could be in that same conversation.

Tatum doesn't have to singlehandedly carry the Celtics, and in turn, doesn't need to be put in those G.O.A.T. conversations. He probably doesn't care either.

As long as Banner 18 is raised, and the conversation shifts to Banner 19, then Banner 20, so on and so forth.