Kendrick Perkins called out Celtics forward Jayson Tatum after a recent loss to the 76ers. Tatum has been on a tear in the four games since, averaging 34.5 points and 9.8 rebounds, and the C’s have won all four in a row.
Did Perkins’ comments spark Tatum’s recent surge? Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge hesitated to give “Perk” all the credit, because Tatum’s production has been at a high level since before the loss to Philly. But he did say in his newest interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich that Tatum is listening to feedback from others who played in the NBA in order to get better, and that’s a good thing.
“I love the fact that Jayson Tatum picked up the phone and called Perk – that’s good that they have that connection,” Ainge said. “I know that Perk only cares for Jayson’s success. I think that there’s players available [for feedback] and I also know that players in our league now, they’re listening to other players.
“Jayson Tatum is a listener. He wants to be great, he’s always wanted to be great. He will seek out those who can help him. Sounds like he was seeking out Perk and wanted genuine feedback from what ‘Perk’ was saying about him that he didn’t like.”
Perkins also gave Tatum credit for not being “sensitive” about his comments or reacting in an unhealthy way.
To Ainge’s point, Tatum has averaged 29.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field over his last 10 games. So he didn’t exactly stink before talking to Perkins. But the four-game winning streak and Tatum’s increased offensive output have been striking.
Listen above for the full interview.