Jayson Tatum says he would choose Damian Lillard to take the last shot in a tight game

Tatum also offered his thoughts on missing All-NBA teams.

Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum believes he should have made an All-NBA team. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Celtics star Jayson Tatum has hit a lot of big shots in his career, but who would he choose to take the final shot in a close game if he couldn’t choose himself?

Tatum had two answers on a recent podcast appearance, which might simultaneously annoy and intrigue Celtics fans.

“I played with Ky, so I’ve seen Ky hit a lot of big-time shots,” Tatum said the Kicks’ Beyond the Media podcast. “It would probably be him or Dame. Those two guys have had a lot of big shots in their career.”

“Ky,” of course, is Nets guard Kyrie Irving whose postseason performance left no love lost with Celtics fans.


Dame, of course, is Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who reportedly might request a trade this summer.

Later in the interview, Tatum noted that he believes he should have made the All-NBA team this year for reasons that go beyond the millions of dollars he lost as a result.

If Tatum had made any of the three All-NBA teams, the max extension he inked on his rookie-scale contract would have bumped up from 25 percent to 30 percent of the salary cap — a pay increase that would have netted him roughly $33 million more over the course of his contract.

But Tatum said he was more upset that he missed out on an honor he believed he deserved.

“I know I should have made it with the season I had,” Tatum said. “I mean, $33 million on the line, obviously, that would make anyone feel some type of way.

“And I wasn’t necessarily upset about losing the money. I think I just felt like the way I was playing, everything I did, I thought it should have been a no-brainer. I think I was just more frustrated with that.”

Tatum noted that the media votes on All-NBA, but the criteria isn’t entirely clear.


“Is there a certain amount of games you need to play? Should you be in playoff contention?” Tatum said. “There’s a certain amount of points you should average, depending on your position. I think there should be something like that in place because I think if you just allow people to just vote … and there’s nothing set in place, like, ‘you gotta play this many games’, whatever it may be. I think that would help it out a lot.”

Tatum will have plenty of opportunities to make All-NBA throughout the course of his career, although none would have made as significant a financial impact as this one.

“I know nobody’s going to necessarily feel bad for me and [Jazz guard] Donovan [Mitchell] because we still get paid a lot of money,” Tatum said. “But I just felt like I deserved to make it.”

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