Boston Celtics star forward Jayston Tatum supported Kyrie Irving's open criticism of the team following a 105-103 road loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
Following a third straight loss on Monday - this time a 109-102 decision to the Brooklyn Nets, Tatum claimed that his All-Star teammate is "telling the truth,"and explained why he supported Irving's harsh criticism.
"It’s the honest truth," Tatum said, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. "He knows what it takes to win a championship, and most of us don’t. Sometimes you gotta be brutally honest in this profession to get the best out of an individual."
After Saturday's aforementioned loss to the Magic, Irving said Boston's young players "don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team,"and questioned if they know what it will take to go the distance.
Kyrie Irving had a lot to say postgame but what stood out was “The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?”— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) January 13, 2019
The Celtics have been among the bigger disappointments this season. Though they sit at 25-18 and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference, Boston was widely expected to be among the NBA's elite teams. They were the consensus pick to represent the East in the Finals this season, but so far, the Celtics haven't found that championship caliber form.
This group managed to push the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in last year's Finals, despite being without Irving and Gordon Hayward for the entire postseason. But the C's haven't found much chemistry, and Hayward continues to struggle as he tries to rebound from a gruesome leg fracture that forced him to miss virtually all of 2017-18.
Boston has gotten fine production from the likes of Irving, Tatum and Marcus Smart. The others simply have to step up if this team is to shrug off its latest slump.
What This Means
There is still half a season to go, and the Celtics could still win the Eastern Conference. But these veterans and young players will have to find a way to gel together soon, otherwise it'll be an extremely disappointing year for the Celtics.
The Celtics host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, so beating the top team in the East could go a long way in getting their season back on track.