Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum able to confront championship expectations for new-look roster


“There is a handful of groups annually that realistically can in all probability win the championship,” Tatum stated. “And we’re in that blend. That is what we’re aiming for. And that is the place we ought to be aiming.”

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum speaks at a news conference.
Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum speaks at a information convention through the NBA basketball workforce’s media day. Michael Dwyer/AP Photograph

BOSTON (AP) — After the summer season the Boston Celtics have had, Jayson Tatum isn’t shocked they’re getting into this season with a highlight fastened on them.

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“Folks anticipate us to get to the championship and win,” Tatum stated Monday. “And if we don’t, we didn’t essentially meet expectations.”

That’s as a result of throughout an offseason stuffed with motion across the NBA, the Celtics have been among the many league’s busiest groups.

In June, they parted methods with defensive stalwart and emotional chief Marcus Sensible in a three-team deal that netted them huge man Kristaps Porzingis.

The next month, All-Star Jaylen Brown obtained the richest contract in NBA historical past when he signed a five-year supermax extension.

Then, Sunday on the eve of coaching camp Boston made one other blockbuster transfer. This time buying and selling reigning Sixth Man of the Yr Malcolm Brogdon and rim protector Robert Williams III to Portland in alternate for five-time all-defensive choice Jrue Vacation.

It’s shaken up the core for a workforce that got here up a recreation brief final season of a second straight journey to the NBA Finals. However as a lot as issues have modified over the previous few months in Boston, one factor continues to ring true: The Celtics will ultimately solely go so far as Tatum can take them.

It’s a burden the four-time All-Star says he’s prepared and keen to confront.

“Is it strain? Yeah,” Tatum stated. “There’s a handful of groups annually that realistically can in all probability win the championship. And we’re in that blend. That’s what we’re aiming for. And that’s the place we ought to be aiming.”

Tatum, a three-time All-NBA choice, will enter his seventh season because the Celtics’ second-longest tenured participant behind solely Brown.

And as a lot as additions like Vacation and Porzingis have been executed to bolster the franchise in the long run, it’ll additionally instantly raise the management tasks for Tatum larger than ever.

Although Tatum has obtained criticism previously for not being a vocal star, he says it gained’t be a brand new hat for him to put on.

“My voice and my presence is felt. Throughout the video games, huddle, locker room, observe, movie – I communicate up,” Tatum stated. “All people might not see it. It will not be the loudest. However I communicate my thoughts. I take heed to guys and guys take heed to me.”

A voice that may assist this new group come collectively will probably be of the utmost significance because the Celtics attempt to capitalize on their championship window in an Jap Convention that has gotten extra aggressive following the arrival of Damian Lillard in Milwaukee.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla welcomes the extra consideration.

“We’re all attempting to attain one thing that’s actually onerous,” Mazzulla stated. “To me, the expectations ought to be there.”

Tatum hit the fitness center onerous this summer season, understanding alongside Basketball Corridor of Famer Paul Pierce whereas going by means of his regular offseason routine.

Pierce, after all, was a part of the final Celtics workforce to seize a championship in 2008.

“It was cool to have him round,” Tatum stated. “He advised us a variety of tales concerning the championship workforce. A number of issues that may attempt to apply this yr.”

Brown additionally joined Tatum for some exercises this summer season, as each attempt to make good on their acknowledged objectives to make the NBA’s All-Defensive workforce.

“We’ve labored out in the summertime earlier than, however no person was taking note of it then. However I suppose everyone’s taking note of it now,” Brown stated. “Simply attempting to get higher. Attempting to enhance collectively. Attempting to work on our chemistry.”

Tatum has added about 12 kilos of muscle after being bothered by a nagging wrist damage late final season.

He opted to not have surgical procedure after a number of consultations with medical doctors and stated he “took all the best measures to ensure I used to be wholesome and put together to return into this season with no distractions.”

It’s left his give attention to doing no matter additional he must do on the courtroom to result in the Celtics to an 18th championship.

“No matter we’ve finished has been nice. Nevertheless it hasn’t been sufficient,” Tatum stated. “So from myself happening the road, everyone’s bought to sacrifice or be keen to do extra. … as a result of we haven’t completed what we’re attempting to do.”

Courting Vacation

Following Lillard’s preliminary commerce request from Portland, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens stated they started to wonder if Portland was going to get any person that they might then transfer on from because of buying and selling him.

That included holding an inventory of potential gamers that will doubtless should be included in a commerce for Lillard with the intention to make the cash match up for the groups occupied with buying him.

When that grew to become Vacation, Stevens stated it was a no brainer to commerce for him.

“There’s an inventory of men within the league that you just suppose you’ll by no means have an actual probability to get. Guys you suppose are excellent suits and that you just’d like to be a Celtic. And Jrue is a kind of guys,” Stevens stated.