The 5 most important players heading into the Celtics-Mavericks NBA Finals

Boston vs Dallas. A matchup of superstars and elite talent, but only a few, will have a significant impact on who ends up hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy
Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages
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2. Jayson Tatum- Boston Celtics

Considering his previous experience and growth since his struggles in the finals against the Golden State Warriors, Jayson Tatum has become a more resilient and well-rounded player. His motivation to redeem himself and lead the Celtics to victory will be a significant driving force in this year's Finals. Granted, Jaylen Brown may have won the conference finals MVP, but he was still proud of his teammate despite the ESPN topics.

While we know what Tatum can do on the offensive side of the ball, his contributions defensively will be just as important. His length and athleticism will need to be out in full force, especially in a series against the Mavericks, where he will likely be tasked with defending Luka Dončić. Long story short, Tatum’s defensive prowess will be put to the test against a worthy opponent who is capable of going ballistic on the stat sheet on any given night.

Tatum's leadership and mental fortitude will be critical in this Finals matchup. The lessons learned from his struggles against Golden State must be shown in this series, or the result will be the same, if not worse. The Celtics have reworked much of their roster to ensure they have a strong enough team to make up for what happened last time, and that starts with Tatum's play instilling confidence and a sense of purpose. The Celtics need No. 0 to play like No. 1—simple but true.