Jayson Tatum opens up on what Kristaps Porzingis brought to the Boston Celtics this season

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Jayson Tatum was highly complimentary of what Kristaps Porzingis has brought to the Boston Celtics after a shocking June 2023 trade that saw the franchise trade away its long-time heart and soul, Marcus Smart.

Ahead of Porzingis's imminent return during the NBA Finals against his former team, the Dallas Mavericks, Tatum lauded the Latvian big man for his offense, defense, and general sacrifices.

“KP essentially did exactly what we needed him to do the entire season,” Tatum said (h/t MassLive). “Whether it was punishing switches or space the five-man, being in the corner, sometimes that might be going possessions without touching the ball. Or it may be when they’re switching, we give him the ball five times in a row.

“We switch things up a lot and we have so many talented, gifted players on the offensive and defensive end. Everybody’s just got to be open to trying to different things. And I give KP a lot of credit — especially somebody as talented as he is and obviously as tall as he is. A lot of the big guys may be stuck in their ways doing what makes them comfortable. He got outside his comfort zone a little bit and it made us a better team.”

Kristaps Porzingis won't be much of a factor for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals

As good as Porzingis is, his contributions won't be make or break for the Celtics against the Mavs in the Finals.

Given his absence from the Cs for over a month and counting, Porzingis isn't going to assume his third-option role in Boston with the Celtics given how successful the team has been with Jrue Holiday in an elevated role. He may be a decoy in the starting lineup or the second unit, and he'll hit a three-pointer or two per game.

But if Boston ends up with Banner 18 hanging from the TD Garden rafters this year, it'll be because Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the best players in the series and Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic were kept in check.