Expectations were high for Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum entering the 2018-19 NBA season, and rightly so after his stellar rookie campaign during which he led the C’s in scoring during their playoff run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
One of those expectations was for Tatum to make a huge jump and become an All-Star. This prediction always was a little unrealistic based on the fact Boston was welcoming back two 20-point scorers in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, as well as the East being more loaded with All-Star caliber players than it’s given credit for.
Tatum didn’t make the All-Star Game earlier this month, but he’s still on track to play in one in the near future. He’s very confident of reaching that level soon, and that was evident in a recent interview with The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
“I know I’m going to be an All-Star,” Tatum said, per Charania. “It wasn’t this year, so it will be next year. There are definitely certain guys that are able to achieve things at faster rates than others, and I know I can be one of them. Nobody puts higher expectations on me than myself.”
Tatum, despite not playing in the game itself, still had a very successful All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.
He scored 30 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, where he was coached by Celtics teammate Kyrie Irving. Tatum also participated in the NBA Skills Challenge during All-Star Saturday and won the event in dramatic fashion with a half-court shot.
Tatum currently is averaging 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 38.2 percent from 3-point range and 86.2 percent from the free throw line this season. He’s had a very good sophomore campaign for the Celtics, and certainly projects to be an All-Star soon.
Whether he represents the Celtics or another team (possibly the New Orleans Pelicans) in his first All-Star Game remains to be seen. What we do know is Tatum just wants to showcase his talents, regardless of which jersey he’s putting on.
“I’ll play basketball anywhere,” Tatum told Charania. “I’ll play for whoever wants me. That’s my job. I know I can’t control any of that stuff, so I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Trade talk doesn’t bother me.”
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