On paper, Jayson Tatum is enjoying the most prolific season of his young four-year NBA career. A perennial All-Star and projected future MVP candidate, Tatum is averaging career-highs in both points (25.1) and assists (4.2). The former ranks ninth-most in the Eastern Conference.
On Tuesday night, Tatum dropped another 20 points. However, it wasn’t enough to extend Boston’s win streak to three games, as the 76ers topped the Cs 106-96. Following the contest, former Celtics champion turned analyst, Kendrick Perkins, took to Twitter to toss some criticism in the direction of the team’s biggest star.
“Jayson Tatum, you got paid the big bucks! You have the body language and energy level of an underpaid player and it’s hurtin the team,” Perkins tweeted. “Time to step up and live up to your role, straight up. Carry on…”
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Perkins Talks Tatum Criticism, Leadership Questions
Perkins didn’t stop there. The former NBA big man joined NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics Postgame Live following the team’s 26th loss of the season to further elaborate on his critique of Tatum.
“There’s still a certain type of leadership role on the court,” Perkins said. “A certain type of tenacity, a certain type of edge, a certain type of swagger that you have to play with.”
“When you look at all the other stars around the league, they compete, they compete, they compete. They don’t have bad body language. They’re enthusiastic. They’re supporting their teammates. They’re always talking to their teammates. And it’s part of him I guess growing, but you’ve got to have that. You have to learn those leadership skills.”
It wasn’t all negative on Perkins’ end, who also tabbed Tatum as one of the most offensive gifted players in the league and a hell of a player. With that said, he pointed towards leadership traits and tenacity that he believes are currently lacking in Tatum, specific traits that Perkins saw on a daily basis from former teammate Kevin Garnett and is currently seeing from Mavericks star Luka Doncic.
Tatum, Coach Stevens Talk Celtics Turnovers
Over the Celtics’ two-game win streak against the Rockets and Hornets, the team compiled a total of 19 turnovers. In their loss against the Sixers, the team accounted for a season-high 20 turnovers.
“It’s hard to win with that many turnovers against a team like that,” said Tatum. “Along with some other things that we did or didn’t do tonight, but it was key for all of us that we have to take care of the ball.”
Head coach Brad Stevens reiterated these feelings when talking to reporters.
“We were loose with passes,” said Stevens. “We took too much of a gamble, too much of a risk, and it backfired. You have to be sure with the ball against them because otherwise, they get running in transition. And in the half-court, they’re hard enough to stop, but if you let them have runouts, it’s impossible.”
The Celtics won’t have much time to harp on their falters against Philadelphia as they have a quick turnaround, facing off with the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
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