Celtics' Tatum doesn't mind sixth man role

NBA.com Global on Aug 26, 2018 07:24 AM
Celtics' Tatum doesn't mind sixth man role
FILE - BOSTON, MA - MAY 9: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics goes to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 9, 2018 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA.com staff report

When Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward return to the Celtics' lineup in 2018-19, Jayson Tatum doesn't care how the rest of the dominoes fall.

That includes any possibility of Tatum himself falling all the way to a bench role after an All-Rookie First Team season.

In a wide-ranging interview with Boston.com, the former third overall pick was adamant that a reserve role is not something he's opposed to, especially if it means even more success after the Celtics' surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Currently in Los Angeles, Tatum will continue working out before training camp begins in September. He said he is not concerned about forthcoming decisions regarding playing time, expressing the utmost faith in Stevens to do what’s right for the team. He also trusts his teammates to handle the situation in stride.

“Everybody has a job to do,” he said. “Our job is to be the best versions of ourselves and come together for a bigger goal, which is winning a championship. Brad’s job is to manage playing time and manage all sorts of stuff. That’s why he’s the coach. We got a bunch of selfless guys on the team that just want to win. We’ll figure it out.”

Tatum said it does not matter to him whether he starts or comes off the bench.

“I understand how deep our team is,” he said. “I just care about winning and doing what I can while I’m on the floor.”

After being selected No. 3 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, Tatum went on to average 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game while posting the league's eighth-best mark from 3-point range (43.4 percent). He upped his production in the absence of Irving and Hayward, averaging 18.5 points per contest during the playoffs.

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