Celtics' Danny Ainge doesn't expect Jayson Tatum to play enough to win Rookie of Year

Danny Ainge is confident that Jayson Tatum is going to be a good pro for a long time. 

This much is clear not only from his quotes, such as when he said "[Jayson's] going to be a terrific player" on draft night, but also from the fact that he was willing to pass on everyone else in a highly-anticipated draft class to grab Tatum. 

His high hopes, however, do not include Tatum winning this season's Rookie of the Year award. Not because he's not good enough be named the top rookie of his class, but because Ainge says he simply doesn't think he'll play enough to get the kind of numbers that are usually necessary to win the award. Via the Boston Globe:

"I think Terry [Rozier] and Marcus [Smart] are really ready to step up," Ainge said. "And Jayson and Jaylen we can be a little bit more patient with, but they are going to play an important role."

"We'll see what minutes [Tatum] will earn. I'm not worried about how they will play when the lights go on. It will be unlikely that Jayson is Rookie of the Year because it will probably come from a team that starts their rookies and plays them 35 minutes per night."

Looking at the Celtics' depth chart right now, this makes perfect sense. 

Most of the time, the favorites for ROY are the guys drafted at the top of the draft by bad teams who have plenty of minutes up for grabs. Playing more minutes equals more production, and the ROY award is pretty much only about production. In the last decade, the only ROY who didn't play over 30 minutes a game was Malcolm Brogdon, who won the honor last season in what was a pretty weak field. And even then, he was getting over 26 minutes a night. 

As for Tatum, barring injury there's really just no way he's playing anywhere near 30-35 minutes a night this season. He'll have to compete with the likes of Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Morris for minutes on the wing. And that doesn't even take into account other youngsters such as Guerschon Yabusele and Semi Ojeleye, who will be trying to get into the rotation.

In his rookie campaign last season, Brown played about 17 minutes a night, and that's probably a fair estimate for how much Tatum will play this season as the Celtics try to work him into their system.

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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