For the most part, things are pretty rosy for the Boston Celtics right now. How could they not be, with their 4.5 game lead in the Eastern Conference?
But don’t worry, Boston, here I am again to be the raincloud on a sunny day! Because if you ask me, the C’s have a problem on their hands. A problem that has the potential to derail this magical season entirely.
For Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum’s wrist is a problem
Yep. The ugly beast that reared its head most notably during the Celtics run to the Finals last season is back again. The left wrist of superstar small forward Jayson Tatum.
At first, it seemed like nothing. Yeah, the C’s All-NBA wing has been wearing a wrap on the wrist all season, but that felt more like a precaution than a sign he was still managing it.
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Then he sat out their recent game against the Toronto Raptors, with the team saying it was due to his wrist. Once again, most of us passed it off as a simple rest day after playing his butt off to ensure the Boston Celtics could finally beat the Golden State Warriors.
But today, in talking with the media, JT let this info out there for the world to see.
There’s no more dancing around it. Jayson Tatum’s wrist is either still hurt, or hurt again, and it needs to be managed.
Boston Celtics need Jayson Tatum healthy
If the Boston Celtics want to win the NBA title this season, there’s only one way for that to happen. And it’s with a completely healthy Jayson Tatum at the wheel. As we saw last year, a hampered JT might not be enough to get the job done.
As it stands now, the C’s are the best team in the league. Their record shows that, and until someone proves us otherwise, there’s no reason to believe anything else.
But come playoff time, when the margins shrink and every possession is critical, an even slightly injured Tatum would be a killer to the C’s title hopes. No matter how talented the rest of the team is, it’s near impossible to overcome subpar performances from your best player.
Again, we lived it last year in the NBA Finals. There’s no need to bring it upon ourselves again if there’s any way it can be avoided, and luckily there is.
Boston Celtics should rest Jayson Tatum
At this point, the most important thing is keeping Tatum from making things worse with his left wrist. With the position the team is in, there’s no reason they can’t find some spots to rest him the rest of the regular season. Between their cushion in the standings and the depth this team has, they should easily be able to continue winning while letting Tatum get some rest.
I’m not saying they should shut him down. If he’s healthy enough, he should continue to be on the active roster. But can we get his minutes down a bit? Can we tell him to stay at home for a game against the Pistons, or another team of that level?
We know he won’t be easy to convince. He’s said it himself: he loves playing too much to willingly take games off. But this time around, he needs to.
The numbers are almost comical. Since being drafted, Tatum is blowing the rest of the league away in terms of total minutes played. With 1200 minutes played more than the closest competitor, he has played almost half a season more basketball than anyone else in the league. And that’s not even counting his Team USA minutes during the summer!
So please, Coach Mazzulla, do your team a favor and give Tatum a break. He’s earned it, and the Boston Celtics will be better for it in the long run.