Boston Celtic’s all-star Jayson Tatum is on a mission to become one of the NBA’s elite stars, and as inches from 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 winning his first gold medal as a member of Team USA, which beat France 87-82 in the Olympic final.
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Now Jayson is aiming high for his fifth season in the NBA.
“I just have to get better. I have to raise my level from 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 the recent filming of an NBA commercial.
With an average of 26.4 points, 4.3 assists and 7.4 rebounds in the past season, Tatum reached career highs in all three statistical categories according to the basketball reference. The ending, however, resulted in a first-round best-of-7 gentleman sweep through the Brooklyn Nets – the earliest post-season exit in Jayson’s four-year career.
Tatum has made the Eastern Conference finals twice in four attempts and is looking forward to returning for the first time since 2020. But as he heads into his fifth season, the 23-year-old standout says his summer experience was unlike any other offseason he’s had in the past.
“It was a unique experience where we couldn’t bring our family with us. We were really isolated so we had to grow closer together. It felt like hell to sacrifice summer and family time to achieve something special, ”Tatum told The Undefeated.
Tatum is ready to apply these lessons to this year’s regimen. Playing with Superstar teammates in Tokyo gave him an early start to preparing for the regular season.
“I plan to carry over what I have learned into the next season. I’ve spent half of my summer playing against the best players in the world. I played against KD in training, Book [Devin Booker], and all of these guys. I feel like I started the season early and will take the next step, ”Tatum told The Undefeated.
Spending time with an all-time great NBA like Kevin Durant has paid off, which is why one of Tatum’s summer teammates, Detriot Pistons Guard Jerami Grant, took the two-time all-star’s confidence to new heights.
“Jayson was great. Of course we saw him become an even better player there. His confidence grew while he was there, ”Grant told The Undefeated. “Under KD he pushed the confidence out of him to stand on this stage and do what he did. He’s one of the best talents in the league. “
The Celtics are set to finalize their preseason plan this week in Florida. First with a matchup against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Followed by a preseason final against the Miami Heat, Friday.