Jayson Tatum admits Celtics chemistry wasn't always there this past season


Jayson Tatum was frustrated by last season, both from a team and an individual standpoint.

In speaking to Jeff Goodman on CLNS' Good N’ Plenty podcast, Tatum explained that he believes the lack of chemistry on the court was a main reason why the team underachieved last year.

“At times, our chemistry was what it needed to be, and sometimes it wasn’t,” said Tatum. “We just weren’t nearly as consistent night in and night out as we needed to be. We showed a lot of flashes of being the team that everybody thought we could be, but it wasn’t enough and it was a tough year. We had so many expectations from our team and individuals, but clearly we didn’t live up to it, and it wasn’t a good season.”

Tatum was quick to acknowledge that there was a lot of talent on the roster, and noted that everyone had the same goals. Yet, when it came time to perform, there was a clear disconnect among the players. 

“Everybody wanted to win. Everybody wanted to make it work. But I don’t know if we knew how to exactly do that,” Tatum said. “Because 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 same page during the games."

“And it’s not one person’s fault. It’s not Brad’s fault, or Danny’s fault,” he added. “I mean, 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.”

Tatum was also displeased with himself, in terms of his individual performance. Though, despite not accomplishing what he had hoped, Tatum explained that last season was a learning experience in which he grew.

“I didn’t backtrack,” said Tatum. “I’m still improving in all my numbers, just not as fast as I wanted to. But you know, that’s why I’m excited for this offseason and for next season. Hopefully, if I’m still on the team. So we’ll see what happens.”

With all the speculation about Anthony Davis trades, Tatum’s name has been mentioned quite a bit. He would potentially fit the “young player with All-Star potential” piece of the three-part request that David Griffin stated Monday, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Yet, the 21-year-old is not concerned about any potential trades.

“The NBA is a business, and people have to make business decisions, and it is totally out of my control,” said Tatum. “I’ve just got to control myself and what I do and working out and playing the game I love. And I tell people all the time that if I get traded, there’s nothing I can do. I’m not going to be upset or mad (at) who I play for. I just love to play basketball.”

In an effort to perform better next season, Tatum said that his goal is always to continue getting stronger. He’ll also look to improve shooting more three-pointers off the dribble and being more comfortable playing off the pick-and-role.

The forward will have the opportunity to implement these refined skilled later this summer in the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s National Team training camp. Tatum will be competing for one of 12 spots on the official roster to play in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Tatum is joined by Bradley Beal, someone who he considers to be “like a brother,” after growing up together. With the potential to both make the official roster, Tatum simply stated, “That would be something special.”

Extensive conversation w @jaytatum0 on today’s Good n Plenty Podcast w @GoodmanHoops.Topics discussed:-- #Celtics frustrating season-- Relationship w #Kobe-- Dealing w AD trade rumors-- Parenthood-- whistling? Yep...-- https://t.co/COSR5ex0t3 pic.twitter.com/LtTnelW3iO

— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) June 11, 2019