Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum needs to find his inner dog this summer

Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

One thing that emerged from the Boston Celtics NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors is that there “ain’t no dog” in Jayson Tatum.

At least that is the message social media has been relating after the supposed super star went cold from the field and morphed into a turnover machine on the biggest stage.

In fact, fans waited and waited and waited for Tatum to have that signature game in the Finals just as he did in the previous rounds.  But it never came.  Despite being the best player on the court talent wise, Tatum was outshined by teammate Jaylen Brown and obviously Warriors superstar Steph Curry.

Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum picked the wrong time not to show up

It was embarrassing, disheartening and worrisome how that dog in Tatum never came out, despite him saying all the right things.  He simply disappeared when the team needed him to emerge.  He wilted when the team needed him to rise.  He didn’t take over and energize his teammates like superstars do.  It was Jaylen who pretty much played that role.

If we the fans and critics felt that way, imagine what Tatum is feeling inside.  Just 24 years old, Tatum has led his team further than most superstars have at his age, including Curry.  While it hurts, the All-Star forward now has a stigma placed upon him with just one simple tweet from NFL wide receiver and Celtics fan DeVonta Smith.

That was just one tweet of many.  Now, the emerging star has to both reflect and internalize a performance he would like to forget.  If there was an injury he was playing through, he is not using it as an excuse so neither will fans.  He had to be better, he needed to be better.  Most importantly, he needed to have that fire in his eyes like he did in the previous rounds.  He needed to have that dog in him that Jimmy Butler had in leading the Miami Heat to Game 7 against the Celtics.

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Furthermore, he needed to have that Mamba mentality that he has been inspired by.  Instead, he wilted.  Now, he has to learn and understand what went wrong.  Now, he has to grow and turn this NBA Finals loss into his next motivation because averaging just 4.2 points a game in the fourth quarter isn’t what an All-NBA First Team player does.

"“Lean and understand who he is in the league,” Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said following the teams Game 6 loss, via WEEI.”  “You’re an All-star, All-NBA First Team guy for a reason.  This is only the start of how you’re going to be guarded and the attention you’re going to draw. …For him, it’s just continuing to grow and understand you’re going to see this the rest of your career.  This is just a start.”"

As Tatum allowed Andrew Wiggins of all people to lock him down and take him out of his game, he needs to find ways to battle back during those times.  He can’t just settle and get frustrated by the way opposing team’s cover him.  He has to find other ways to impact the game and he did at times as his playmaking ability did emerge this season and throughout the playoffs…until Game 3 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

With the Boston Celtics up 2-1 on the Warriors, Tatum and the squad was given an opportunity to step on the necks of the Warriors.  They decided to rely on three pointers instead of taking it to the hoop, which is Tatum’s strength.

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But, in all, perhaps this is the kind of criticism and loss Jayson Tatum needs to take that next step as one of the best players in the NBA.  Perhaps now he has the fire that will internalize within until he is celebrating an NBA title.