Ime Udoka on what Jayson Tatum, Celtics need to learn going forward after Finals’ loss

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum struggled throughout the Finals’ series vs Golden State. He added another underwhelming performance in Game 6 of the series with 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting.

Tatum averaged just 21.5 points, along with 7.0 assists and 6.8 rebounds through six games. He just shot 36.7 percent from the field and had an average of 3.8 turnovers per contest. The Warriors’ defense took away the Celtics’ main source of scoring.

“For him, it’s just continuing to grow and understand you’re going to see this the rest of your career. This is just a start,” Udoka said on Tatum.

“The growth he showed as a playmaker this year and in certain areas, I think this is the next step for him. Figuring that out, getting to where some of the veterans are that have seen everything and took their lumps early in their careers.”

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Tatum had a great season with the Celtics, he prevailed over other NBA superstars outplaying them in crucial moments in the close-fought series vs the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals, respectively.

The Warriors seemed to be a tall order for Tatum as a team with a great defensive plan and a leader like Draymond Green in the defensive side. The Celtics in general as a team experienced tough stretches in the offensive end.

“For us, we know we have guys that can go get a basket. It’s more about big picture, not getting stagnant, to your point. We can lean on that when we have to,” Udoka said on what the Celtics’ game plan.

“When teams are singularly focused to take certain guys out, we have to have a fallback, whether it’s off-ball actions, post-up actions, some of the things we did tonight and throughout the season and playoffs at times.”

Boston is a young team with Tatum just being at 24, Brown one year older and Robert Williams, who played injured for most of the time during the postseason, also being at the early years of his NBA career as part of the starting five.

The 2022 Finals’ appearance is just the start according to the Celtics head coach and a learning experience moving to the next season. Obviously, Boston beat the best of the East veteran teams, which have won enough throughout the last five years.

The Brooklyn Nets started the season as a favorite headlined by Kevin Durant, the Milwaukee Bucks were the reigning champions and the Miami Heat made a Finals’ appearance back in 2020.

“We learned a tremendous amount about each other as a staff and them learning what we wanted and vice versa. That’s the message to the guys tonight. This is just the start. A foundation has been set,” the first-year head coach stated.

“We can kind of hit the ground running next year. Let’s get healthy and all be on the same page. I think he’s absolutely right where we kind of expedited the process of some of the things we wanted to do. Now it’s a matter of taking that next step.”

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