Jayson Tatum Arranged Starters-Only Meeting After Celtics’ Jrue Holiday Trade
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After the Boston Celtics acquired Jrue Holiday just weeks before the start of the regular season, Jayson Tatum held a players-only meeting to discuss the sacrifice necessary to win a championship.
“I wanted us to get in the room and talk about it,” Tatum told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
“We all are human and have feelings, and I opened the floor and basically said, ‘There’s six of us. Only five can play at one time. One of us is not going to finish the game all the time.
“Whether it’s fair or not, me and [Jaylen Brown] are probably going to always start, and always finish the game.
But we have to be held to a different standard and be able to be coached differently.
Whether it’s [Kristaps Porzinigis] and [Al Horford], one of you guys may not finish a game, and you have to be OK with that.”
The Celtics spent most of the offseason with an assumed starting five of Derrick White, Brown, Tatum, Porzingis and Horford.
When Holiday was added to the mix, there was some natural speculation about who would shift into the sixth man role.
The answer wound up being Horford, as the 37-year-old agreed with the decision after behind-the-scenes conversations.
“I think, honestly, it was a very important moment for us,” Porzingis said. “Just to kind of look each other in the eye, and know that we’re here for one job, and to understand that we’re all going to be willing to make some sacrifices.”
The sacrifices have led to Boston looking like the best team in basketball through the first month of the season. The Celtics have the league’s best record at 11-3 and have outscored their opponents by an average of 10.6 points per game.
FanDuel Sportsbook currently has Boston pegged as the championship favorite at +370.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the better 1-2 punch in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard and the Philadelphia 76ers have the reigning league MVP in Joel Embiid, but the Celtics are the most complete team in the conference top-to-bottom.
All that remains is everyone staying healthy and keeping their egos in check as they attempt to make a run at an NBA championship.
Boston has made the conference finals in three of the last four seasons and made an NBA Finals appearance in 2022, but the core led by Tatum and Brown is yet to get over the hump.
We’ll see in a few months if the overhaul around the two All-Stars is enough to change their luck.