Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum focused on ‘getting stronger’ before camp

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 08: Jayson Tatum
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 08: Jayson Tatum /

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft has Boston Celtics fans gleaming, but Jayson Tatum is not satisfied with his physical game.

There is just something special about Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum.

The No. 3 overall pick out of Duke impressed his coaches and many observers in both the Utah and Las Vegas Summer League with his offensive skills, but knows he has more work to do.

At 6-foot-8, Tatum already has a strong upper body and skillset that has drawn comparisons to a couple NBA greats.  It is his ability to create his own shot that reminds many of Paul Pierce and his post moves and fade away shot were influenced by Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 09: P.J. Carlesimo (L) gets ready to interview Jayson Tatum
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 09: P.J. Carlesimo (L) gets ready to interview Jayson Tatum /

While, the comparisons in his young NBA career are a bit unfair, it is hard to ignore how polished he is offensively.  His quickness and foot work makes him mismatch going up against bigger players.  If he does add more strength and physicality to his game, then watch out.  He would become the type of stretch-four Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been looking for.

Related Story: Boston Celtics: There is so much to love about Jayson Tatum

Impressing the coach

As far as his game right now, Stevens has been very impressed with the young rookie.  Not just offensively, but defensively as well.

"“He knows how to play,” Stevens told reporters last week, via  “He can put the ball in the basket.  He’s had some things that I think have been good eyeopeners for him, too.  Because this league is tough.  Whether it’s people getting up underneath him, really playing him physically, or figuring out what shot is the best shot to take at the time or just finding his spots – those are all things you learn over time.I’ve been really encouraged by his defensive play.  And that’s something with his length, and ultimately as he builds more strength, that should be a positive.”More from Chowder and Champions3 Midseason Chaim Bloom Decisions That Have Killed the 2023 Red Sox10 Patriots Who Will Be Cut by Tuesday’s Roster DeadlineMLB Screws Red Sox Fans With Broadcast for Mookie Betts Return3 Most Underpaid Celtics Heading Into the 2023 SeasonRed Sox Continue Rollercoaster Season With Massive Win"

And perhaps that comment from Stevens is the inspiration behind Tatum’s commitment to working on his strength and physicality.  From a defensive stand point, he will have to be able to bang down low at times.  This is especially the case when Stevens goes to the small lineup where Tatum could either play the four or even the five.

This understanding of his flaws physically can be attributed to his maturity as a player.  That same maturity and commitment to getting better may earn him a lot more playing time than Jaylen Brown got during his rookie season.

Speaking of Brown, it is also Brown’s experience that is contributing to Jayson Tatum’s early progression. I know it is just summer league, but he looks and sounds like quite a player.  He averaged 17.7 points and eight rebounds per game, but didn’t play in the last couple games due to a leg injury.

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