Perk issues challenge to Jayson Tatum after Celtics' latest loss


Jayson Tatum's talent is undeniable. The two-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 25.1 points per game and became the youngest player in Boston Celtics history to reach 5,000 points Sunday night.

But if Tatum wants to become a true superstar, he needs to do more than just get buckets.

Following Boston's 106-96 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday -- in which Tatum scored a team-high 20 points -- former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins shared some honest criticism for the C's star on Twitter.

Such comments deserve a follow-up, and Perkins joined NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics Postgame Live" after the game to flesh out his thoughts on Tatum.

"There's still a certain type of leadership role on the court," Perkins said, as seen in the video above. "A certain type of tenacity, a certain type of edge, a certain type of swagger that you have to play with.

"When you look at all the other stars around the league, they compete, they compete, they compete. They don't have bad body language. They're enthusiastic. They're supporting their teammates. They're always talking to their teammates. And it's part of him I guess growing, but you've got to have that. You have to learn those leadership skills."

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Perkins insisted Tatum is a "special talent" with a bright future ahead of him. But for the 23-year-old to truly be great, Perk believes an attitude adjustment is in order.


"I've played with a lot of Hall of Famers," Perkins said. " ... Kevin Durant had a swagger about himself that, he's always going to lead, he's always going to root for his teammates, and on top of that, he's going to fight, he's going to push, he's going to support his teammates.

"And I don't see that. It's a lot of bad body language. I don't see enough emotion out of Jayson Tatum."

Tatum is in his fourth NBA season and his improved his on-court game every year, so there's reason to believe he can improve his mindset as he gains more experience. Perkins believes that would go a long way in jump-starting a Celtics team that's floundering at 25-26 with just 21 games left in the regular season.

"When you're 'that guy,' you have to come in with that mindset night in and night out," Perkins said. "You've got to have that enthusiasm, because it's contagious. This is why you're getting paid the big bucks."