Boston’s Jayson Tatum doesn’t lack for confidence.
Averaging 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds a game — while trying to get his touches in conjunction with Kyrie Irving and a crowded rotation of guys who want the rock — he struggled to find his place more early in the season but has looked more comfortable and aggressive of late. He’s ready to help Boston make its playoff push.
Next year, Tatum believes he will be an All-Star, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“I know I’m going to be an All-Star,” Tatum told The Athletic. “It wasn’t this year, so it will be next year. There are definitely certain guys that are able to achieve things at faster rates than others, and I know I can be one of them. Nobody puts higher expectations on me than myself.”
Tatum unquestionably has All-Star potential — it’s why he became a talking point in the Anthony Davis trade talks (even though the Celtics cannot make a trade before July 1). Sources told me the Pelicans simply were not high on the young Lakers being offered back to them (various combinations of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram) and didn’t see a sure All-Star in the group, but they see that in Tatum.
It leads to the question if Tatum becomes an All-Star, whose jersey will he be wearing when it happens?
“I’ll play basketball anywhere,” Tatum told The Athletic. “I’ll play for whoever wants me. That’s my job. I know I can’t control any of that stuff, so I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Trade talk doesn’t bother me.
“I’ll play for anyone.”
The Celtics told the Pelicans before the deadline that “everyone was available” this summer, and there is little chance the Pelicans would make a trade with Boston that didn’t involve Tatum. That said there are a lot of moving parts — and a lot of basketball to play, including the postseason — before any deals get done.
Just know wherever he is playing next season, Tatum has set the bar high.