Jayson Tatum reveals that he’s always felt like he’s on a star path. He points to his rookie year as proof for this self-assured attitude.
Tatum came into the NBA as a much-vaunted Duke prospect who’d proved his scoring ability as a college freshman. JT immediately set about establishing his place in the Celtics’ starting lineup, and that development came pretty quickly.
The Celtics were without Kyrie Irving’s services for extended spells during his rookie year. With Gordon Hayward out for the year, the responsibility of leading the offense became a matter of scoring by committee.
This allowed Tatum to step into the role of a primary offensive weapon a lot sooner than other rookies. What helped him even more was the fact that he was playing alongside an elite defensive lineup that slotted him in seamlessly.
Tatum compiled the second-highest points total by a rookie in a single playoff run in 2018. A signature, career-defining moment for the 20-year-old came when he posterized LeBron James in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals.
Jayson Tatum points to the exact moment when he understood he’d be an NBA star
JT knows exactly where and how he got these opportunities to blossom into the star that he is today. He talked about this on his Reddit AMA today, when he revealed his coming-of-age period as a rookie:
“I always felt like I would be a star, but it just came a lot faster than I expected. Towards the end of my rookie year, around the time when Kyrie went out with injury, we went undefeated on a West Coast road trip and finished the season as the 2nd seed.”
“I obviously had to take on a bigger offensive role, and it was during that period where I felt like even though I’m young and this is my first year, I’m built for this.”
Jayson Tatum dunks LeBron into oblivion and STEPS UP ON HIM!!!! pic.twitter.com/PUaFPavpkK
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 28, 2018
Today, Tatum is making his case for an All-NBA Second or Third Team nod – the second of his career. We have very little justification for the 23-year-old not to get in once again this year.