Al Horford has been having a phenomenal season for the Boston Celtics, especially when it comes to knocking down his shots from the perimeter.
Yet, during a recent interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on a March 1 episode of NBA Today, Horford chose to praise Jayson Tatum’s growth rather than focus on his own accomplishments, noting how he believes the St. Louis native is heading toward a Hall of Fame career.
“People are gonna have to acknowledge him as a winner. He is gonna win championships. He is gonna be an MVP. Hall of Famer. All that comes with it. He has the work ethic. He has the drive. I feel like he’s mature beyond his years in that regard, and he wants to win, so I think people are gonna remember him as a winner,” Horford said.
Tatum recently appeared in his fourth consecutive All-Star game and was voted as the All-Star MVP, but more importantly, he’s defined himself as the Celtics’ best player and has been operating at an All-NBA level this season, averaging 30.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 46.2% from the field, and 35.5% from deep over 59 regular-season games.
Jayson Tatum Urged to Find Consistency
During a February 28 episode of NBA Today, former NBA champion Richard Jefferson urged Tatum to find some consistency in his performances and embrace the level of expectations on his shoulders.
“If you’re going to go to the NBA Finals, this is the halfway point, this is the halfway mark. So, to say he needs some rest, I don’t know how much rest he got over the All-Star break, but we do know that there was an extended seven, eight-day period where there was only one game because he didn’t play the game before,” Jefferson said, “This is part of the growing up process. If you’re going to do this, and you’re going to be an MVP candidate, you’re going to be counted on for 35-to-40 minutes a night for 82 games. He’s in that conversation, but he’s gotta get through this tough spot.”
Tatum, 25, had been struggling from the field since returning from the All-Star break but managed to put that slump behind him with a 41-point performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 1.
Adebayo Reveals Competitive Relationship With Tatum
It’s no secret that NBA players are friends with players from other teams, especially ones from younger generations that grew up playing against each other at the youth level and at basketball camps.
When speaking to Bleacher Reports’ Taylor Rooks during a February 28 exclusive interview, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat revealed his competitive friendship with Tatum, noting how the pair had known each other since age 12.
“I don’t like the Boston Celtics, nah. It’s mainly because, obviously, JT, I’ve known JT since we were 12. Obviously, when we play each other, it’s a dog fight. I want to be like ‘dawg, I have more wins than you.’ That’s how I am, it’s a personal battle right there…I don’t talk to Jayson before games. But after games, it’s more so love. Because we’ve played the game, buzzer went off, win, lose, or draw, he’s still one of my great friends in the league,” Adebayo said.
Unfortunately for Adebayo, he has spent this season looking up the Eastern Conference rankings at Tatum’s Celtics team, as Miami continues to struggle and currently finds themselves sitting seventh and facing the daunting prospect of qualifying for the playoffs via the play-in tournament.
So, maybe Abebayo should avoid answering Tatum’s calls in the coming weeks.