Pregame Post-Ups: Rivers Astonished by Tatum’s Growth

Thursday, Feb. 13 - Clippers at Celtics

Pregame – Rivers Astonished by Tatum’s Growth

BOSTON – Celtics coaches become more and more amazed by Jayson Tatum’s rapid development rate as the days go by. Opposing coaches, meanwhile, are becoming more and more alarmed.

When it was mentioned to Doc Rivers ahead of Thursday night’s Celtics-Clippers matchup that the 21-year-old wing has grown even more since his 30-point outing in LA less than three months ago, the Clippers’ head coach couldn’t help but shake his head and laugh.

“I hope not,” Rivers responded incredulously. “Because he was pretty good against us that night. I don’t need any more growth outta him right now.”

Even though Rivers may not want to believe it, he can’t help but acknowledge Tatum's growth.

“He’s just taking better shots,” the former Celtics coach stated of the first-time All-Star. “His shot quality is better than it was last year. He seems just more confident – free in a very positive way.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is equally impressed by the growth of his young pupil, especially being in his presence every day. Stevens believes that such on-court growth coupled with a mature off-court approach will eventually make Tatum into not only one of the greatest players in the league, but also one of its greatest leaders.

“You grow up quickly in this craziness,” Stevens said. “He has always had a high, high emotional intelligence to him. He’s always been able to stay above the fray and the moment and not get too high or too low. It’s really impressive. He’s been that way since he got here. You just see the growth in the consistency of his play on both ends of the court. He’s awfully talented.

“We’ve had a few talks this year about the goal, both with him and Jaylen, that this is all for naught if at 28, 29, 30, they’re not two of the better leaders around. They’re both really trending in that direction. They’re both going to be excellent.”

When Rivers considers Tatum’s future, it causes him to become even more amazed (and maybe a little nervous).

“Can you imagine five years from now what he’ll be?” Rivers pondered. “He’s one of the better players in the league and an All-Star, yet we’re still talking about how young and how much better he’ll be. He’s going to be amazing. I’m just glad he’s in the East.”

- Taylor Snow


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