Celtics’ Analyst Issues Strong Statement on Jayson Tatum: ‘He’s Not KD’

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

With 35 seconds remaining on the clock, the Boston Celtics looked for a two-for-one possession against the Utah Jazz, electing for Jayson Tatum to take a pull-up three in the hopes that he could give Boston control of the game.

Tatum ended up missing that shot, allowing the Jazz to secure the rebound and take the driver’s seat in the dying moments of the contest. When speaking on the Locked’ On Celtics Podcast, John Karalis noted how a Jayson Tatum pull-up three isn’t an analytically favorable shot and stated that the St. Louis native shouldn’t be the automatic choice for big moments down the stretch.

Loss to Utah Jazz brings more questions for Boston Celtics & their chances to win it allThe Celtics got themselves a nice win over the Portland Trail Blazers but their loss to the Utah Jazz raises more questions about their chance to win it all. Yes, they were shorthanded on a tough back-to-back, but they also had multiple chances to win the game and either couldn't box out or made bad…2023-03-19T17:30:05Z

“What I didn’t like was the Tatum pull up, which, Joe Mazzulla after the game is like, ‘I’ll take that 100 times out of 100.’ And every game, I’m like, ‘really? Because he’s gonna miss 70 times.'” Karalis said. “There’s no reason to expect that he was going to go and have this big, big moment, other than he’s Jayson Tatum. But you know what? I’m tired of that. I’m tired of that notion. Because he’s not there. He hasn’t earned, ‘well, he’s Jayson Tatum.’ He just hasn’t earned that. He hasn’t…He’s not Giannis. He’s not Steph. He’s not KD. He’s not at that level, where you’ve earned the well, ‘he’s insert name. Of course you want him taking that shot.’ I don’t think he’s there.”

Tatum has been struggling since returning from the All-Star break and failed to build on the momentum he generated from his 34-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers, as the Jazz disrupted his rhythm and limited him to just 15 points on 33.3% shooting from the field in 38 minutes of play.

Joe Mazzulla Called Out For ‘Baffling Decision’

Joe Mazzulla has been coming under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks, not only for calling Tatum’s number on every clutch play but also for his rotations, with his decision to sit Derrick White for the entire fourth quarter against Utah a prime example.

In his March 19 article for NBC Sports Boston, Chris Forsberg shared his thoughts on why Mazzulla’s decision to sit one of the team’s most reliable players down the stretch was baffling, especially in a closely contested game.

“But White’s fourth-quarter DNP on Saturday night was downright baffling,” Forsberg wrote. “The Celtics were playing without three starters, including Smart, and couldn’t find any time for White? Yes, the Celtics needed size but White is one of the team’s best decision-makers and can often negate the size he gives up with his basketball IQ. He needs to be on the floor more regardless of matchups.”

White has been an ironman for the Celtics this season, playing in every game and proving to be a reliable contributor both off the bench and as a starter. In his 72 games this season, White is averaging 12 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 46.1% from the field and 37.4% from deep.

Brian Scalabrine Sounds Off on Celtics’ Defense

Under Ime Udoka, the Celtics became known for being a strong defensive unit that would take pride in shutting you down and grinding out victories – it’s what helped lead them to the NBA Finals.

Yet, throughout this season, the Celtics have slowly gone away from their defensive principles and are now struggling to locate an identity with the playoffs looming. When speaking on a recent episode of ESPN’s The Lowe Post Podcast, Brian Scalabrine discussed Boston’s recent defensive regression.

“They don’t guard at nearly the clip that they used to guard at,” Scalabrine said. “It used to be that everyone’s fighting to be the best defender on the team. It was a good rivalry … It used to be a thing. They used to take pride in guarding the ball. They used to take pride in shutting down the other team’s best player…they’re far from, far from a 48-minute per game team that sits down defensively and really works on that side of the ball.”

The Celtics will look to get their season back on track when they face off against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, March 21, in what will be the final game of their six-game road trip.

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