Jayson Tatum has long been recognized for his quiet leadership style in the Celtics locker room. A flashy bucket-getter on the court, his reserved nature shows through more off the court. This past week, per NBC Sports Boston, Jaylen Brown noted that if he could steal one attribute from Tatum, it would be his stoicism.
While the Celtics have seasoned veterans in Marcus Smart and Al Horford – Smart is the Celtics’ longest-tenured player, having played eight seasons in Green, and Horford has now been in the League for 15 years – Tatum is “the guy”. Tatum averaged 25.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in the 2022 playoffs, leading the Celtics to their first NBA finals since 2010.
“I might not be the loudest guy, especially in front of the camera,” Tatum said. “But for the guys in that locker room, when we’re in practice or on the plane or on the court, my presence is felt in my voice. We all put a lot into this game, so we all have the right to give input to each other. That’s all I try to do when I see something, try to help guys out.”
The Celtics battled past the Nets, Bucks, and Heat, before falling short to the Warriors. Horford said Tatum “took a huge step” as a leader during their Finals run. “I feel like that confidence is kind of going to carry over this year, and we’re going to continue to see more of that from him.”
Riding off of his leadership throughout the 2022 playoffs and having gained a deeper understanding of the mountain it takes the win a championship, the superstar has made his leadership presence and voice known during this year’s training camp.
“He does a lot of talking, pulling guys aside, seeing how we can get the best look and whatever it might be,” Derrick White said. “So [you] definitely see that maturity and the growth that he’s doing.”
“He wants to win. It’s always good to follow guys that want to win.”
Led by Tatum and interim head coach Joe Mazulla, the Celtics begin another trophy-hunt season on Oct. 18 vs. the Sixers.