Celtics' Jayson Tatum: 'I Haven't Doubted Myself' Amid Early Shooting Struggles

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 16, 2021

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Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum isn't overly concerned about his slow shooting start this season.

"I haven't doubted myself—not once," he told reporters after going 7-of-20 from the field in Monday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. "Neither have my teammates; neither have my opponents. They still guard me closely. They don't leave me. They don't help because they know what I'm capable of. But just gotta keep working at it, keep watching film, gotta keep shooting. I'll figure it out."

To Tatum's credit, he still finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal while helping lead his team to the 98-92 victory.

Yet he entered play shooting 38.8 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 74.2 percent from the free-throw line. Those would all be career-worst marks for the Duke product who entered the league as the No. 3 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft.

He is someone who has never shot below 45 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from deep for an entire season as one of the smoothest scorers in the league who can explode for 40-plus points on any given night.

It should be noted Jaylen Brown has been sidelined since a Nov. 4 win over the Miami Heat, which allows opposing defenses to focus more of their attention on Tatum without having to worry about accounting for Boston's other go-to playmaker.

Still, the two-time All-Star will "keep working" on his shooting.

"You just miss shots sometimes," Tatum said. "... I try to be the same person when I'm 7-for-30 as when I was scoring 50 and 60. I can't change who I am or how I act. I don't want anybody to feel bad for me; missing shots. I'll continue to keep working. It's going to come."

The Celtics will need the shooting to come if they are going to live up to their potential as a contender in the Eastern Conference, but they are 5-2 in their last seven games as they improved to 7-7 overall.

They will look to keep rolling Wednesday when they face the Atlanta Hawks.             


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