Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum is on a mission to become one of the NBA’s elite stars and as inch closer to the start of the 2021-22 campaign, Tatum isn’t holding back.
In an exclusive 1-on-1 interview with The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, Tatum talked about his busy summer, including earning his first gold medal as a member of Team USA, which topped France 87-82 in the Olympic Final.
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Jayson Tatum’s Plans: From ‘Top 10-15 to a Top-5 Player’
Now, Jayson is setting lofty goals ahead of his fifth NBA season.
“I just got to be better. I have to elevate my level from being one of the top 10 to 15 players to a top-5 player. I have to try to make everyone else around me better,” Tatum told The Undefeated during recent filming for an NBA commercial.
Averaging 26.4 points, 4.3 assists, and 7.4 rebounds last season, per Basketball-Reference, Tatum reached career-highs in all three statistical categories. However, the end resulted in a first-round, best-of-7 gentleman’s sweep by the hands of the Brooklyn Nets — the earliest postseason exit of Jayson’s four-year career.
Tatum: ‘I Feel Like I Got An Early Start’
Tatum’s reached the Eastern Conference finals twice in four tries and is itching to return for the first time since 2020. But as he heads into his fifth season, the 23-year-old standout says his experience over the summer was unlike any other offseason he’s had in the past.
“It was a unique experience where we couldn’t bring our family. We were really isolated, so we had to grow closer together. It was a hell of a feeling sacrificing your summer and time from your family to accomplish something special,” Tatum said, per The Undefeated.
Tatum’s ready to apply those lessons to this year’s regimen. Playing alongside superstar teammates in Tokyo gave him an early start in preparation for the regular season.
“I plan to take what I learned into next season. I spent half of my summer playing against the best players in the world. I played against KD in practice, Book [Devin Booker], and all those guys. I feel like I got an early start to the season and will take it to the next step,” Tatum said, per The Undefeated.
Pistons’ Jerami Grant On Tatum: ‘One Of The Best Talents in the League’
Spending time with an all-time NBA great as Kevin Durant paid dividends, which is why one of Tatum’s teammates over the summer, Detriot Pistons guard Jerami Grant, believes raised the two-time All-Star’s confidence to new heights.
“Jayson was great. Obviously, we watched him grow into being even a better player while he was there. His confidence was growing while he was there,” Grant said, per The Undefeated. “Being under KD, he pushed the confidence out of him to be on that stage and do what he was doing. He is one of the best talents in the league.”
The Celtics will conclude their preseason schedule in Florida, this week. First, with a matchup against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday night. Followed by a preseason finale against the Miami Heat, Friday.