AfterStar After a tough NBA Finals, Brad Stevens had one simple message for his franchise player.
Stevens, Boston's president and chief of basketball operations, smiled during a video conference with reporters following Boston's season ending with a loss.Six games are required to reach the championship round of the league. “Go to sleep.
“This guy gave us all he had. If you look at the number of games played, you can see the minutes. This is what I have said many times: He's a superstar who doesn't want any rest. He is a player, he wants it all the time. He said that he wanted to play in the Finals. However, there were other factors that contributed to his performance.
After being named to the All NBA first team, the 24-year-old star had a difficult playoffs. He ended the postseason with the highest number of turnovers by any player in NBA history. He shot 50 percent from field once and under forty percent four times in Boston's loss against Golden State.
This led to poor playmaking and 2-point shooting, which was not only an issue for Tatum but also for the entire team, who saw Boston fall short of its goals. Stevens stated that it is important to remember how great Tatum and Stevens are.They have reached this stage in their careers, in terms of postseason success. Without them, the team would not have been where it is today.
Stevens cited Tatum's 46 point game in Milwaukee in Game 6 in the Eastern Conference semifinals as an example.
Stevens stated, “Obviously we all react emotionally in every moment, but when you look objectively at it, and more so historically, Jayson and Jaylen's playoffs performance, historically at their age, is rarified water.” “I think that we are acutely aware of the fact Jayson may not have played his best series but we can't be here without him and his amazing play all the way.
“I think back on all the times… Game 6 in Milwaukee is one of my favorite games, both in person and with Celtics. Without that performance, this discussion would have been a month and half ago.
Stevens used the term “this conversation” to refer both to Boston's ineligibility in these playoffs and to what the Celtics must do to improve. He focused on two areas. Increased consistency in bench scoring and improved playmaking across all rosters.
Stevens also pointed out that the Celtics got this far this season because of their unique combination of size, versatility, and team spirit. As Boston seeks to improve, the Celtics need to be aware of these strengths and not lose them.
Stevens stated, “I think that we need to walk a fine-line a bit.” Stevens said, “I believe teams are fragile. The way that teams work together and interact together is fragile to me. When you find a successful team, such as we did this year, your identity as a group is fragile. Adding to the group doesn't necessarily mean that you don't take something away.
He said that no Celtics, including Robert Williams, will need surgery. He also stated that it was possible for everyone on the roster to recover from a difficult playoff run in which Boston played 24 of 28 games.