The Boston Celtics guard has a heavy workload this season with his team in the midst of an Eastern Conference finals comeback attempt. Ime Udoka, who coached Tatum during his high school days at St. Joseph’s High School in Philadelphia, breaks down how he rose to such heights so quickly and what it will take for him to maintain that level late into the NBA season
Jayson Tatum’s heavy workload has drawn an assessment from Ime Udoka, who is the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. Read more in detail here: jayson tatum height.
Early in the season, injuries have been a huge thorn in the side of the Boston Celtics. As the C’s battle to establish stability among their ranks, Jaylen Brown has been in and out of the lineup, among others. Jayson Tatum has been a critical component for Boston in the first quarter of the season, and although he’s been healthy the whole season, his heavy minutes might be catching up to him now.
Tatum averaged 32.7 minutes per game in his first four seasons in the league. He’s now averaging a career-high 36.5 minutes per game for the Celtics, which is tied for second in the NBA. Boston head coach Ime Udoka, on the other hand, seemed unconcerned with his star player’s hefty workload. Tatum’s first-year coach, in fact, does not feel this will be a concern for him in the future:
“I don’t necessarily believe 36 is a huge deal for him,” Udoka told Mass Live’s Brian Robb. “Given how much Jaylen has been out and how much we’ve had to depend on (Tatum), that was certainly pushed up a little bit, apart from the additional overtimes, the six more sessions there tacked on some minutes.” But he’s a tough person who’s held up his end of the bargain.”
Udoka then complimented Tatum on his fitness. Tatum, 44, is finally receiving the fruits of his hard work at the gym, according to the 44-year-old shot-caller:
“As I’ve indicated, I’ve never seen a man his age take care of himself and prepare the way he does in terms of therapy, receiving the injections he needs, and in the weight room,” he continued. “He lives in the gym, so he looks after himself, and it’s no coincidence that he’s been able to play so many minutes and at such a high level.”
Winslow Townson/AP Photo
This season, Tatum has been nothing short of incredible for the Celtics. In leading Boston to a 13-11 record, the All-Star forward is averaging 25.2 points on 40.6 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.7 triples. Tatum is fully aware that he is one of the NBA’s top young players, but he isn’t content to rest on his laurels. The 23-year-old is fully aware that he must always work hard in order to raise his game to the next level. He seems to be doing precisely that right now.
During the summer, the Celtics lost their starting point guard, Kemba Walker. Tatum has had more playmaking chances as a result of this, which has been one of his season’s bright spots thus far. Coach Udoka was in complete agreement:
“We’ve drilled him on not settling, making fast decisions, and when he does that, he can go to the hoop or create plays for other people,” Udoka said. “A few games ago, he had some success and saw himself going to the free throw line. We saw early this year that he was missing shots that we liked for his ability to go to the hoop. I believe he just saw the success of going to the hoop and the free throw line, and how it opened up everything for him, and he has carried that over.
“We like his balance and the fact that he can score in the post, on the pick-and-roll, and in the iso — he can score anywhere on the floor.” But we enjoy it when he gets downhill and is aggressive, as well as driving and kicking for his teammates.”
Jayson Tatum, Ime Udoka, and the Celtics organization aren’t the only ones who recognize how outstanding of a talent he is. Every night, the rest of the league has their eyes set on him. Tatum has a long path ahead of him, not just this season, but throughout his career. In this regard, Udoka gave this star forward some excellent advice:
Udoka said, “Stay confident.” “Continue to do things the same way he does them.” Whether he scores 40 points or has a terrible shooting night, he stays true to his word. He comes in and performs the same thing he does every day, as I just said. So, as I already said, his professionalism is unrivaled, particularly for a man of his age.
“I’ve been around a long time and have never encountered a person at that age who is so focused on taking care of himself.” He deserves credit for being able to play those minutes. 36 isn’t a ridiculously large number. With the lads being out, we’ve had to depend on him perhaps more than we would have wanted to early on. But he’s taken on a big responsibility and sticks to his routine every game, practice, and day.”
Jayson Tatum is one of just a few NBA players with the potential to be all-time greats. The former Duke star understands what he has to do to do the same, and you can’t blame him for giving it his all.
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