Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Do not overreact to Jayson Tatum’s start. Do not overreact to Jayson Tatum’s start. Do not over—-
Oh, hell. Tatum’s been unbelievable. Seriously, if you had told me he would average 15.2 points and 6.3 rebounds over his first six games while shooting 50.9 percent from the field, 50 percent from the 3-point arc and 86.2 percent from the free throw line, I would have called you crazy then wondered why the bartender hadn’t cut you off.
But those are Tatum’s actual averages. Six games into his career, I’m already writing midgame notes like “I wonder what would happen if Tatum got more touches” and “man, Brad waited too long to put Tatum back in.” The rookie’s not supposed to be at this stage yet. He’s a skinny 19-year-old who had scouts concerned about his shot selection and defense just a couple of months ago. People wondered if the Celtics were insane for trading back from the No. 1 pick to take him.
Like Jay King, I’m also trying not to overreact to the fast start, but I can’t help but be a little giddy about what I’ve seen from Jayson Tatum so far this season.
OK, I’m more than a little giddy. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that. Through six games, Tatum is Boston’s second leading scorer, leader in true shooting percentage, leader in free throw attempts, and third in PER behind Kyrie Irving and Al Horford.
The key phrase there is “through six games” which is why I’m trying like hell not to make wild projections but as I’ve noted before, Tatum’s game has a maturity that signals long-term success. Even his big key drive last night shows that.
The inside-out dribble… the little bump to create some separation… taking advantage of his length… that’s not a rookie move. That’s something a pure scorer does.
I’m going to stop myself here because if I continue, I’ll probably write some things that shouldn’t be written yet. For once, I’m going to control myself and not declare Tatum the best player in a draft that’s only four months old and with just six games of evidence. I’m going to wait to do that… until maybe the 10th or 11th game of evidence.
Page 2: Kelly still <3 Brad
“I’ve always been good with Coach Stevens,” he said. “First and foremost, Coach Stevens is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in the world. Top to bottom. Good day, bad day. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, he’s an unbelievable human being. It doesn’t matter what situation is thrown at him, what the circumstances are, win, loss, he is one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever come across in my life.
“I talked to him the other day and there’s a lot of things I’ve learned in Boston and I’ve taken from Boston and from him that you don’t even really appreciate until you’re removed from it. You really realize, and I told him this, I can’t thank him enough for how much he instilled whatever it was, habits, work ethic, just a way of thinking and a way of being in life into me the last four years — especially being a young guy and being able to be molded.
“I think he was a key cog in my development. As much as you don’t see it at the time, when you’re removed, you appreciate everything that he does.”
Who couldn’t love this guy?
There’s a reason Stevens resonates so well with guys on a deep, personal level… because he’s more than just a basketball coach. Player after player after player says Brad teaches them about life as much as he teaches basketball. He gets to them at a personal level and makes connections through basketball.
So for Stevens it’s not just about “you go here, you set a pick there,” it’s about approaching your whole life with a sense of purpose and making basketball part of that life.
You might think that’s hokey bullshit, but he’s molding guys in the early-to-mid 20’s (or even a 19-year-old). If he’s making better men, then they inherently become better basketball players. They believe in him, so when he asks them to do something, they do it to the best of their abilities.
What I’m saying here is I want Brad to be my life coach. Brad, if you’re reading this, and if you’ve got a few extra minutes in your day, I’m hiring.
Related links: Herald: Former Celtic Kelly Olynk lands well with the Miami Heat
Maybe Marcus Morris won’t come back tomorrow night after all…
“I don’t know that he will play Monday but he’s getting a lot closer,” Stevens said prior to Boston playing at Miami. “That’s good.”
Morris, who has been suffering from a sore left knee that bothered him prior to him showing up for Boston’s training camp, did not travel with the team during its two-game road swing through Milwaukee and tonight in Miami to continue getting treatments.
“He needs to have at least a day of hard practice with our guys before he could play in a game,” Stevens said. “That’s probably a little bit optimistic for Monday.”
It would be nice to have him when facing the Spurs but considering how well the team has done so far, there’s no need to push it for one game. I don’t know when the team is going to manage a hard practice, though. They play every other day for the next month (except the two back-to-backs).
Regardless… he’ll be back soon. It will be real interesting to see how he’ll be used in his return and how it will affect other players.
The rest of the links:
NBC Boston: Kyrie’s strong defensive game overshadowed by brilliant offensive finish | Stars, studs and duds: ‘Physical and tough’ Baynes making impact | Kyrie delivers late to help Celtics hold off Heat rally for 96-90 win
Globe: This time, Celtics benefit from a Kyrie Irving scoring barrage | Heat coach had vision of Hayward in a Heat uniform | Bob Ryan: There is very little ‘normal’ about being a son of LaVar Ball | Sunday notes: Suns are burning
Celtics.com: It’s the Little Things That Matter to Aron Baynes