Jayson Tatum had another great year in the NBA in the recently concluded season, as he played at an All-NBA level and led the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals. He had some great moments throughout the year, especially in the last few months of the regular season. His lockdown of Kevin Durant in the first round of the playoffs was tremendous and has set championship expectations on him.
Tatum has been to three Eastern Conference Finals and made his inaugural NBA Finals appearance this season, where the Golden State Warriors easily won the title over Boston. JT's performance in the Finals was disappointing, as a combination of Warriors' wing defenders managed to tire the former Duke star into having inefficient nights.
Tim Legler of ESPN believes that Tatum is going to be under pressure now because the Celtics will have championship expectations from day one and that Tatum can't disappear in the Finals again.
“I think Jayson Tatum is under some pressure,” Legler said. “… Jayson Tatum did not play well in the NBA Finals. He was outplayed by the Golden State’s best player. … This is a team expecting now to win it all, and Jayson Tatum did not play well when they got to that final stage. He’s gonna have to answer that. Regardless of what he does in the regular season, people are gonna be waiting to see, when those lights are at their absolute brightest, will he be better than he was last year and help lead Boston to a championship?”
There may be some explanation for Tatum's struggles in the Finals if you look at the path the Celtics took. Outside the first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics went to seven-game series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat before facing the Warriors, meaning Tatum could have been gassed by the time the Finals rolled around.
This can't happen again, and Tatum will most likely spend his offseason working on his body to ensure he can go as far into the postseason as he possibly can.