For the Boston Celtics, the phrase “next man up” could not ring with any truer. The duo of Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier are threatening to become the latest Celtics’ stars. Tatum and Rozier have helped Celtics’ fans take their minds off their recent misfortunes.
The Celtics have played virtually the entire NBA season without star forward Gordon Hayward. As reported by the Boston Globe, late season knee surgery ended the idea of an extended playoff run for guard Kyrie Irving. Add to that a nagging hamstring injury to Jaylen Brown, which was sore after Game 2 of the Celtics’ best-of-seven series with the Philadelphia 76ers, losing was expected.
With three of the Celtics top four players out or hobbled, it has been next man up in Boston. Someone had to step up. The Celtics’ player to step up had to be in addition to perennial NBA All-Star, Al Horford. Enter Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier; perhaps the next two players to go down in Boston Celtics lore.
Despite missing two of the NBA’s best 20 players, and despite not having an abundance of playoff experience between them, Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier have helped the Celtics tremendously. The Celtics would not be one game away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals without the contributions of the unheralded members of their team.
Jayson Tatum has gone unnoticed, it seems, when it comes to the Rookie of the Year award. It has all but been conceded that the award is going to either the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons or Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
It is not an inconceivable notion that Tatum could finish fourth or fifth in the voting. Los Angles Lakers’ guard Lonzo Ball and Chicago Bulls’ forward Lauri Markanen are expected to get votes, as will Dennis Smith of the Dallas Mavericks. This is in spite of the Celtics’ rookie playing as if he is a 10-year NBA veteran. Now Jayson Tatum is on the verge of becoming a star with the Celtics.
While it may not seem justifiable, being snubbed from the all-rookie first team is a realistic possibility. That has left the budding Celtics’ undeterred. During the Celtics’ overtime Game 3 win over the Sixers, Tatum led Boston with 24 points. Jayson Tatum has scored 20 or more in five consecutive playoff games for the Celtics.
Terry Rozier was one of the primary names mentioned in NBA trade rumors involving the Boston Celtics. There were rumblings that Rozier could have been included in a trade that could have brought in guard Tyreke Evans from the Memphis Grizzlies.
The trade which did not happen for the Celtics may go down as their most underrated decision of the season. Whenever the Celtics were without Kyrie Irving, it was Terry Rozier who stepped up. In his first career start, Rozier had a triple-double in a Celtics win. Few foresaw the Celtics needing Terry Rozier to lead them in the postseason. Now there is proof positive, and it appears that the Celtics are not looking back.
With the way that Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier are performing, the Boston Celtics’ chances of reaching the NBA Finals cannot be overlooked.