Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum made an appearance on The Old Man & The Three podcast, hosted by JJ Redick and Tommy Alter. The usually reserved Tatum was very candid with the fellow former Duke Blue Devil and talked about his relationship with Jaylen Brown, his extension in Boston, and the state of the Celtics today.
The most popular clip shared on social media today was Tatum talking about the All-NBA voting process. Last season, Tatum was not included among the NBA’s best 15 fifteen, thus costing him roughly $30 million on his contract in incentives. According to Tatum, the money wasn’t even the part he was most upset about.
“It’s not about that [the money]. Just, as the results came out and I looked at how people voted and what went into the media members’ process of voting. That was the frustrating part… And the votes were wrong. I got 20 votes as a guard, where if they would have put all my votes as a forward, I would have beaten out some of the forwards.”
Tatum spoke about the frustration that someone’s subjective opinion can end up costing a player millions of dollars. He pointed toward the future, saying that the rules need to change for future players who are put in the same situation.
Redick also talked to Tatum about the Celtics’ recent winning ways. He asked about what has changed over after the team hovered around .500 for the first half of the regular season.
“Health and awareness. Us being aware of, quite frankly, things we weren’t doing right. Things we were messing up on. And I think health-wise, having our core group, having our starting lineup for the majority of these last 17 or so games has made a world of difference.”
Since Marcus Smart returned to the lineup after his COVID-related absence, the Celtics are 11-2, and 10-1 in games where their entire starting lineup has been healthy. Tatum emphasized how crucial consistency is, as well as noting the frustrations of Boston’s early-season struggles.
Redick also brought up the constant talk of “splitting up the Jays,” and how the media always seems to pin the two against each other. He asked Tatum whether or not he and Jaylen Brown talk about those rumblings. In short, yes they do.
“We’ve had plenty of talks. I think it’s really picked up this year. Especially at the beginning of the season… We’ve asked each other like, ‘do you want to be here?’ and we both was like, ‘yeah.’ And he was like, ‘bro, I don’t understand.’”
Tatum went on to talk about how successful the duo has been, despite their early season struggles. He noted their multiple Eastern Conference Finals appearances and the fact that neither of them is even close to their prime just yet.
He also mentioned that there aren’t many players in the NBA like them, and how they’re some of the best young players in the league right now.
“I couldn’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to have two of the best players that are under 25 on your team. And yeah, there are certain rough patches throughout a season, but we’ve won way more games together than we’ve lost.”
Other topics covered included some stories from Tatum’s days at Duke, the issues surrounding the 2018-19 Celtics season, the frustration after losing in the ECF to both Cleveland and Miami, and the advantages to playing on Team USA.
If you’re interested, here are some rough timestamps for the episode (based on the full-length YouTube video):
- 5:25 Story of Tatum’s Duke team getting kicked out of the locker room
- 12:41 What has changed in the last few weeks for the Celtics
- 14:10 Being spoiled from the success of his rookie season
- 16:45 The 2018 series vs. Philadelphia
- 22:00 Discussing the Cleveland/Miami series’
- 23:30 The dunk on LeBron James
- 25:10 Issues with the 2018-19 season
- 28:45 The 2020 series vs. Toronto was the hardest one ever
- 34:27 Media talks about breaking up the Jays
- 36:02 Reaction to Marcus Smart’s comments earlier this season
- 41:00 All-NBA voting talks
- 52:18 Tatum’s favorite game-winner/clutch shot
- 01:01:58 Advantages of playing on Team USA
- 01:06:40 Favorite under-the-radar guys in the NBA
- 01:08:01 Tatum’s new candy brand