How Jayson Tatum Feels Celtics Measure Up To Stacked Team USA

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Jayson Tatum is less than a month removed from winning the NBA Finals with the Boston Celtics, but now the 26-year-old is chasing a Gold Medal with a stacked Team USA roster in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Joining forces with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Boston teammate Jrue Holiday is certainly video game-esque, however, Tatum made one thing clear: there isn’t another team on the planet he’ll take over the Celtics.

“You know, when you win a championship it gives you a little runaway to say what you want and say how you feel,” Tatum said Tuesday on ESPN’s “NBA Today.” “So I’m riding with the guys that I just played 10 months of basketball with and been through hell and back. I love this team that I’m on. This is a hell of a team (with) some of the best players to ever play. But what I just went through with my teammates in winning a championship, we’re locked in forever. I’m taking us against whoever.”

Boston was, by far, the best team in the NBA this past season, totaling a league-leading 64 wins in the regular season followed by a 16-3 run in the playoffs en route to Banner 18. The Celtics never collided with a notable cold skit, stuck by their identity and didn’t allow injuries to derail them. When starting center Kristaps Porzingis suffered a left leg injury in the first round of the postseason, Boston responded by going 10-2 without the 7-footer.

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Whether or not the Celtics are a “super team” is up for debate, but the numbers don’t lie and when the 2023-24 season opened in October and ended in June, nobody stood taller than Boston. No team in NBA history recorded as many 50-point wins, 40-point wins, 30-point wins and 25-point wins as the Celtics, nor did anyone else secure a record-setting 18th Larry O’Brien Trophy.

But just because it’s summertime and the streets of Boston are cleared of any celebratory confetti from the duck boat parade doesn’t mean Tatum’s escaped the pressure of top-of-the-line expectations, even if means not playing for the Celtics.

It’s been 12 years since James last played for Team USA and the now-39-year-old’s commitment sparked an outpour of interest from the NBA’s brightest stars — including Tatum’s. Assembling that kind of powerhouse roster, consisting of 12 All-Stars and seven NBA champions hasn’t been the norm for the last decade-plus, therefore, Team USA — just like the Celtics — will be expected to live up to their hype once the festivities commence.

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