SALT LAKE CITY – Whenever you talk to an NBA rookie, they tend to speak about how the pro game is so much faster, physically and mentally, than what they’re used to.
As we’ve seen time and time again, this leads to them playing at faster pace than they probably should.
And then there’s Boston rookie Jayson Tatum whose pace was atypically ideal in Boston’s 81-70 summer league loss to San Antonio on Wednesday.
Drafted by Boston with the third overall pick, Tatum tallied a double-double against the Spurs with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
“He’s going to be a pretty good player in this league for a long time,” said Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen who is coaching Boston’s summer league team. “As the days pass, I’m beyond being surprised by what he’s able to do on floor.”
The multi-dimensional skillset Tatum was touted as having after one season at Duke, was on full display Wednesday night.
He scored driving to the rim, from the perimeter on pull-ups and catch-and-shoots, not to mention making a couple of nifty passes for easy baskets for his teammates.
And making it even more impressive, is he’s doing at a very cool, calm and consistent rhythm that’s uncanny for a 19-year-old in the NBA.
“The game is faster and it is an adjustment,” Tatum said. “What I try to do is play at my speed when I can … that’s where I’m comfortable at.”
And he’s doing this while the coaching staff feeds him and his teammates a steady diet of information at both ends of the floor with limited time to process with the games coming so quickly.
Tatum takes it all in, showing no signs of being overwhelmed.
“His soul … he seems so mature and older,” Allen said. “He doesn’t get sped up. He’s physical, he competes, he puts it on the floor … you would be hard-pressed to find another 19-year-old in this country that has the demeanor he has.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday’s game.
Bryn Forbes: His speed off the dribble and knack for knocking down spot-up jumpers gave Boston fits all game. He led all scorers with 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting.
Jayson Tatum: There would be no late-game heroics tonight for the Celtics rookie, but that doesn’t diminish from what was a second strong showing in as many games. He led the Celtics with 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting along with 10 rebounds.
Davis Bertans: He was one of the more consistent shooters, tallying 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting which included 4-for-8 on 3’s.
Abdel Nader: He was the Celtics’ only other double-digit scorer besides Tatum, tallying 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting.
Celtics turnovers: This more than anything else, is what killed them against the Spurs. Boston turned the ball over 19 times with five different players tallying at least two turnovers apiece. Those miscues led to 25 points for San Antonio.