Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has been selected for his first All-Star team, one of seven reserves selected by Eastern Conference coaches.
“Definitely it is an honor,” Tatum said. “I am extremely blessed and grateful. [In my] third year, to make the All-Star team, it is a surreal feeling. I’m just very excited and it’s a dream come true.”
The third-year forward entered Thursday’s game against the Warriors averaging 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season. He is shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line, both of which are career lows. But he has taken on a larger scoring load this season, including 41- and 39-point nights.
The Celtics have outscored opponents by 11.1 points per 100 possessions with Tatum on the floor, the highest mark among Boston’s regulars.
“I always watched the All-Star game to see the best players on the floor at the same time,” Tatum said recently. “It was cool. I always envisioned myself one day being on that court.”
Tatum will join Celtics point guard Kemba Walker, who was previously selected as a starter for the Feb. 16 game in Chicago. The Celtics’ coaching staff could be tabbed to lead one of the All-Star teams, too. If Boston passes the Heat and Raptors and moves into second place after Sunday’s games, its coaching staff would get the nod.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, who entered Thursday averaging 20.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while making 49.5 percent of his shots, did not make the squad.
“We’ve said all along the most important thing is not to be named an All-Star it’s to be playing like one,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Both of them are playing like one, both of them have had great years.”
Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and Philadelphia’s Khris Middleton were the other players to be selected from the Eastern Conference