Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Celtics' Jayson Tatum named to NBA All-Rookie First Team

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team, falling one vote short of being a unanimous selection, the NBA announced Tuesday.

He joins the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell and Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons on the All-Rookie First Team.

Tatum becomes the 10th Celtics player to be named to the All-Rookie First Team and the first since Paul Pierce during the 1998-99 season.

The No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Tatum started a team-high 80 games and immediately made an impact on the court. He averaged 13.9 points with five rebounds and 1.6 assists, and led the team with 83 steals during the regular season. Tatum also set franchise marks with 105 3-pointers and shot 43.4 percent from downtown, the fifth-highest among rookies in NBA history.

“We probably anticipated coming into the year, a guy that comes off the bench, plays 20-25 minutes a game, grows at a rate that everyone feels comfortable with. And then we just threw him to the wolves instead,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told NBA.com back on April 10. “He’s been able to handle it, and he’s been great.”

With All-Stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving out of the playoffs due to injuries, Tatum has picked up the offensive input and led the team in scoring, averaging 18.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

RELATED: Celtics rookie forward Jayson Tatum says he plays for Jesus

Amidst all the accomplishments, Tatum’s faith in Jesus Christ keeps the St. Louis native grounded on and off the court.

“It helps me a lot. That’s an understatement,” Tatum said. “My grandmother always told me to always remember where you came from. To whom much is given, much is required. That’s always stuck with me. She told me to never be arrogant and always be humble. No matter how this game of basketball takes you.”

Speaking with Rob Maadi on “Faith on the Field,” Tatum talked about why he adopted the motto, “In Jesus name, I play.”

“That’s something that has stuck with me for a long time. I even got it tattooed on my wrist,” Tatum told Maadi. “From a young age, my grandmother was the first one to always remind me of how blessed I am to be in this position, the talents I have, and everything that you do, you do it for Jesus.”

The Boston Celtics look to get back on track Wednesday night at TD Garden after dropping the last two games in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The series is tied at 2-2 and tip off for the crucial matchup is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

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