Jayson Tatum is well aware that someone must account for the leadership that was lost when the Boston Celtics traded Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies. The obvious player to fill that role is Jayson Tatum, the Celtics’ top star. Tatum will do so in his own way, but don’t expect the 25-year-old to wear his heart on his sleeve quite like Smart.
“I’m never going to be Kevin Garnett,” Tatum told The Messenger. “As much as people want me to be, that’s not who I am. The way I lead, the public may not ever see what I do.”
“When I need to, I make sure my voice is heard and I do it in my own way. I’m not going to be out there jumping up and down screaming. That’s just not my personality. As much as people want to talk about it and want me to be that, I’m not changing who I am. I lead in my own way. When I talk, everybody in that organization is going to listen. And whatever I say is always for the betterment of the team — and my teammates know that.”
Tatum is coming off the best individual season of his career. The four-time All-Star averaged 30.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He shot 46.6% from the field and finished fourth in the 2023 NBA MVP voting.
The Celtics, however, took a step back from the previous year. After coming two games shy of winning the 2022 NBA Finals, Boston was eliminated in Game 7 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.
Kristaps Porzingis will replace Smart in the Celtics’ starting lineup.
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