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Former Teammate Sticks Up for Boston Celtics Star

Jun 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) is introduced before the start game two of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports Derrick White

In a recent interview for FanDuel, Charlotte Hornets forward Grant Williams spoke about the amount of criticism Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum receives in the media. Williams believes Tatum “doesn’t necessarily need or deserve” some of the criticism that gets thrown his way.

“I feel like he definitely receives a lot of criticism that he doesn’t necessarily need or deserve. I think people nitpick him because of his talent across his team, and they expect him to lead and perform at this level. But when you’re surrounded by the people he’s surrounded by, he can have an off night. At the same time, you gotta allow a little bit of grace. This guy has been a 25-point-per-game scorer over almost his entire career, getting triple doubles night in, night out, and leading a team. Sometimes leadership doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the elite scorer of the night; it might just mean that the team is playing you a certain way. I think that’s the growth he’s had.”

Williams and Tatum were teammates on the Celtics from 2019-2023. After spending a few seasons with the team that drafted him, Williams joined the Dallas Mavericks last summer via a sign-and-trade. Ultimately, his Mavericks tenure was uneventful. After playing 47 games with the team, the Mavericks traded Williams to his hometown Hornets.

As for Tatum, he is currently one win away from winning his first-ever NBA championship as the Celtics are up 3-0 in the NBA Finals against the Mavericks. In the series, Tatum is averaging 21.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game.

Former Teammate Sticks Up for Boston Celtics Star

Jayson Tatum Previously Stuck Up for Grant Williams

Earlier this year, long-time Celtics commentator Mike Gorman spoke poorly about Williams. During a radio interview, Gorman called Williams “annoying” and “a bad locker room guy.”

“He was annoying to everybody. I think initially everybody thought, ‘Oh, isn’t he kind of a wise ass, but he’s kind of cute, and he’s kind of funny.’ And then it just kind of wore thin, and it got thin quickly in Dallas, obviously. If you start to take on (Luka) Dončić, you’re not going to be around for long.”

“So, yeah, he had some issues in that area that if he doesn’t get rid of — he’s not good enough to have teams say, ‘Well, OK, but despite that, we’re going to keep him here because he’s a great player. He’s not. He’s an extra. He’s an eighth, ninth, 10th guy on your roster. So, those guys are very replaceable, especially if you get a guy that’s a bad locker room guy.

“If you’re a bad locker room guy and you’re the eighth or ninth guy, you’re not going to be the eighth or ninth guy for long because you’re not going to be on the team for long.”

However, Tatum was quick to take it to social media and defend his former teammate.

Despite Williams and Tatum no longer being teammates, it is clear they still have respect for one another.

Grant Williams Predicted the Boston Celtics to Win the 2024 NBA Finals

In early May, Williams predicted the Celtics would make it to the NBA Finals this year. However, whether they would win or not depended on who they faced, according to the 25-year-old. In the interview, Williams said the Celtics would lose to the Denver Nuggets if they matched up in the Finals. However, Williams said that if Denver gets eliminated, the Mavericks would advance instead and lose to the Celtics. Although the Finals are not over yet, Williams’ prediction is looking good so far.


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