After Boston Celtics star Jason Tatum endured a tough NBA Finals, Brad Stevens reached out to his team’s top player with a simple message.
“I just told him to go on vacation,” Stephens, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said with a smile during a video conference call with reporters after Boston’s season ended with a six-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the league championship round. “Go get some rest.
“This guy gave us everything he had. When you look at the score sheets, when you look at the games played… I’ve said it many times: he’s a superstar who doesn’t want to sit. He wants to play, he wants to play all the time. I thought in the final, obviously I think he would be the first to say that he would like to bring back some of those moments, but I thought there were other factors influencing the way he played.”
The 24-year-old superstar has gone through the playoffs with ups and downs since leaving the NBA First Team. He finished the postseason with the most losses by a single playoff player in NBA history, and in the Finals he shot 50% from the field once and under 40% four times against Golden State, including just 31.6% of shots on goal. Golden State. – point shots.
As a result, unsurprisingly, both 2-point shots and the playmaker were problems not only for Tatum, but for the team as a whole when Boston fell short of their goals. However, Stevens said it’s worth remembering how good Tatum and Jaylen Brown were already at this point in their careers in terms of postseason success, and that the team wouldn’t have been where they are without them.
As evidence, Stevens specifically pointed to Tatum’s 46-point road game to Milwaukee in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
“I try to look at it this way, obviously we are all subjective at every moment and react emotionally, but if you start looking at it objectively and more historically, then what Jason and Jaylen did in the playoffs is historically at their age – it’s rarefied air,” Stevens said. “I think we are well aware of the fact that although Jason would not, admittedly, have played his best series, there is no chance that we will be there without him and without all his great performance along the way.
“I remember all the times… Game 6 in Milwaukee was one of the best games I’ve seen in my time, especially in person and with the Celtics. Without this performance, we would have had this. discussion a month and a half ago.
By “this discussion,” Stevens meant how Boston failed in this playoff and what the Celtics need to do in terms of improvement. The two areas he singled out? A more consistent scoring on the bench and a playmaker in the entire roster.
However, Stevens was just as quick to point out that the Celtics were able to pull off a similar feat this season thanks to their unique combination of size and versatility across the board — and that as Boston looks to improve this summer, the Celtics should be mindful of those strengths and not give up on them to improve other aspects of the team.
“I think we need to walk a fine line a bit,” Stevens said. “I think teams are fragile. I think the way teams work together and act together is fragile. we were at our best, sharing the ball offensively, these things are fragile. So just adding doesn’t mean you don’t take anything away from the group.”
He went on to say that no Celtics player, including Robert Williams III, who struggled with left knee pain throughout the playoffs, would need surgery, stating that there would be enough rest for Williams and everyone else on the roster to recover from a serious injury. a grueling playoff streak in which Boston played 24 of a possible 28 games.