Kevin Wildes is not happy with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum's performance in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. The analyst had high expectations from the three-time All-Star, but Tatum has failed to reach those standards.
The Celtics are down 3-2 in the series and are on the brink of losing the championship with Game 6 on Thursday in Boston. Aside from the Finals, Tatum had a stellar postseason. If he is able to channel the same energy in Game 6, the Eastern Conference champions can extend the series to seven games.
However, Wildes said he doesn't have high hopes for Tatum to deliver a big performance. On "The First Things First," he said:
"I want the Celtics to win. I want Jayson Tatum to be Game 6-against-the-Bucks Tatum, who had 46 points on 32 shots. He had 11 straight points in the fourth. But that guy hasn't been around. Now he's shooting 24% in the fourth, and I just think it's bizarre that you can say, 'Hey, the Warriors are gonna win" and never really mention Jayson Tatum.
"It doesn't feel you're worried about Jayson Tatum at all."
Tatum has averaged 23.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in the finals. Those are solid numbers, but the truth is that he has struggled to get going. He has had good starts but has failed to keep things going throughout games in the series.
He has shot only 37.3% and has also given away 3.6 turnovers per game. The Warriors have done a great job in putting clamps on him. With him misfiring, the Celtic offense has also not been able to get going.
Wildes had picked the Celtics, but with their star looking under par, he has started to doubt their chances, saying:
"I've tried to be critical of Jayson Tatum, I've tried to be inspiring to Jayson Tatum and now I've just been convinced to lower my expectations. I want Game 6 Bucks Jayson Tatum to show up. I just don't know if he's going to."
Can Jayson Tatum help the Boston Celtics pull out a win in Game 6?
Jayson Tatum is one of the NBA's best young talents. He has a wide array of skills and is one of the toughest players to guard. Along with his offensive ability, the youngster uses his size to contribute on defense for the Boston Celtics.
Heading into Game 6, Tatum and every player in the organization has a lot at stake. The team worked hard to reach the NBA Finals and would not want to let it all go in vain at TD Garden. Tatum's performance has been a reason of concern. However, considering this is the biggest game of his career, a strong reply could be expected.
Tatum has proven in the past that he can go up against the league's toughest defensive units . The Warriors have done a good job on him, but he is due for a big game. The Celtics will be hoping it will be in Game 6 as that will possibly take the series into Game 7.