Jayson Tatum's willingness to buy into a team-first mentality over reverting to isolation sets and hero-ball will be make-or-break for the Boston Celtics as they embark on their quest to raise Banner 18 from the TD Garden rafters, writes Celtics Wire.
"If you have noticed that star Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum likes to play at a pace far slower than the rest of his team excels at, you are not alone," a Celtics Wire staff member prefaced before saying, "Tatum and fellow All-NBA forward Jaylen Brown have seemingly flip-flopped from the start of the year in terms of their style of play meshing with the team as a whole, with Boston really finding a new gear in transition, while the St. Louis native preferring an effective — but less so — halfcourt style of play.
"Tatum’s willingness to buy into the team mentality long-term could be make-or-break for the season once the playoffs come. Boston is no stranger to halfcourt-focused, ISO-heavy play — why not expand the repertoire and heed Tommy Heinsohn’s advice to RUN?"
Jayson Tatum must put MVP ambitions aside for Boston Celtics' best interests
At this point in his career, Tatum is being frequently brought up in the same sentences as the MVP Award -- and if he doesn't win it, the predatory media, circling the waters like sharks to call out any Celtics player for not being up to snuff, will question his league standing and probably go back to trying to split up Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
But he doesn't need to win it at this point. Far more important to his legacy will be bringing Boston its first Banner in a decade and a half. And achieving that feat will require exactly what Celtics Wire is asking for: buying into a team mentality. On any given night, Brown may be the lead. Kristaps Porzingis on other nights. Derrick White's time will surely come as well considering the upward trajectory he is on to stardom.
Tatum cannot be afraid to cede shot attempts, responsibilities, or in general, the spotlight, to his star-studded supporting cast; one he may have to be the support for on some nights for this team to win it all.