Jayson Tatum on pairing personal success with team struggles

Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill caught up with the Boston Celtics forward to get his thoughts on his season thus far and if anyone can catch the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference. Jayson joined Yahoo Sports thanks to Subway.

Video Transcript


VINCENT GOODWILL: I'm Vincent Goodwill here joined on behalf of Subway by Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics All-Star. We're going to get to that a little bit later. But Jayson, I'm curious how does this year feel for you having a career year? Does this feel any different with no fans? Is it an evolution of your personal game? What does this year feel like for you in terms of your own growth?

JAYSON TATUM: It's kind of twofold, honestly. Because I guess having a career year and career numbers but at the same time expectations of our team and where we want to be aren't where we are right now. And I think part of that has to do with coming from the bubble because obviously I know what we're capable of. So we're just trying to figure it out and get on track.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Now, I'm curious because you and Jaylen Brown are around the same age. He came in a little bit earlier than you, but your trajectories might have been at different levels. Is it a situation where iron sharpens iron, or is it tough for both of you guys to sort of share the same space and still be able to project and progress at the same time?

JAYSON TATUM: Since my rookie year we're both kind of in the same position. Like you said, very close in age. He came in one year before me. And we just push each other.

Usually, the last two guys in the gym shooting every day, always getting extra work in, in the weight room, and not envious of each other's success, knowing that we need each other and that we're probably going to be here on the same team for a while. So just trying to push each other to be as best as we can so that we can accomplish that main goal in winning a championship.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Since you've been a rookie, your name has been mentioned in trade talks every single year, A, because people value you so much. B, because Boston has always been known to wheel and deal. Is it easier to deal with now than it was when you were a little bit younger, or is it just a part of the business now that you've gotten sort of accustomed to? Or do you even pay attention to that stuff?

JAYSON TATUM: I mean, honestly, I tell people all the time when stuff like that was happening. I mean, I'm still young, but I was so young then that stuff didn't bother me in the aspect of I was just grateful to be in the NBA. At the time, I didn't care where I was playing, and I just figured that getting traded was part of it.

And if I was if I was to get traded and I was still able to play basketball and do what I love, it didn't bother me. So I always took that approach that some things are out of my control. And my job is to go out there and do what I do. The business will take care of itself.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Not even when you first hear your name and you're like, oh, team X is interested in you, but the Celtics aren't partying with Jayson Tatum. Did that make you feel good, or were you able to sort of take that with a grain of salt too?

JAYSON TATUM: It's for sure good to feel wanted from both sides. And obviously I love where I'm at. I love being with the Celtics and the city of Boston. Sometimes you can't always believe what you hear on TV, good or bad. Honestly, I was like, man, I'm just going to hoop, and whatever happens, happens.

VINCENT GOODWILL: You guys played the Brooklyn Nets last night. Just from a talent standpoint, what do you see in them? Do you see them as this juggernaut that you guys have to chase, or do you feel like there's no team in the East that stands that much higher than anybody else?

JAYSON TATUM: I mean, if you look at their team, they're obviously the top or one of the top teams in the league. But as you know in sports, especially depending on what team gets going or gets hot at the right time, it's not really we're chasing somebody. We're trying to figure out our own identity and what we need to do. And then when that time comes in the playoffs, depending on who we play, we'll worry about it then. But I think that right now in the regular season, we're just trying to focus on us.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, Jayson, you are joining us on behalf of Subway, and you have your own sub. So tell us about that a little bit.

JAYSON TATUM: Very grateful and fortunate to partner with Subway. I think the best part about it is that it's genuine. I've been eating Subway since I was a kid-- one of my favorite meals ever to eat.

And then coming out with the Bacon, Tatum Sandwich-- that's the sandwich I would get every time I went to Subway since I can remember. So actually creating something that's genuine to me and seeing it come to life and seeing people react to it on TV and on Twitter, people buy the Subway sandwich and post it and #mysubwaysub-- things like that never get old to me.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Appreciate your time, man. Jayson, good luck with the rest of it or the second half of the season with everything the Celtics got going on.

JAYSON TATUM: Appreciate you.