The 2018-19 season didn’t materialize in optimal fashion for the Boston Celtics. Despite sky-high expectations that included favorite status in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics didn’t reach the conference finals and, as such, the campaign was largely considered a disappointment. Though some of that could obviously be traced to performance issues, buzz has existed for months that the Celtics simply didn’t quite gel on the floor, which could have led to some of the struggles.
This week, standout forward Jayson Tatum poured a bit of cold water on the notion that Boston’s problems were based off the court, shining light on the situation with an appearance on the Good N’ Plenty podcast with Jeff Goodman.
“We did have a lot of talent, a lot of lot of guys,” Tatum said. “I don’t know what people believe on the outside, but we had a lot of good guys. Everybody wanted to win. Everybody wanted to make it work, but I don’t know if we knew how to exactly do that. We all got along great, on the plane, off the court, but even watching film, it didn’t necessarily look like we were all on the page during the games. And it’s not one person’s fault. It’s not Brad’s fault, or Danny’s fault, we all played a part. People can blame the GM and the coach, but we still had to go out there and perform and do our job, and like I said, we didn’t always do it.”
This isn’t necessarily new ground in Boston, as Marcus Smart famously downplayed rumblings that Kyrie Irving’s leadership was a major problem for the Celtics this season. While Tatum wasn’t addressing Irving here, it is interesting to hear what he had to say about the way things aligned with the squad, shedding any notion that tension off the floor made its way into the action on the hardwood.
The Celtics have a massive summer ahead, with Irving’s free agency looming and the potential for other player movement. With that as the backdrop, it could be instructive that a key member of Boston’s roster didn’t believe there were deep-ceded issues, and Tatum is in line to be the team’s featured piece in the event that Irving chooses a different destination in July.