Jayson Tatum 2021-22: Leap Year

Jimbodandy

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lmfao what a clown
His Twitter feed reads like a game thread. Not a compliment.

Love this:

"As well as he scored the ball, the insistence on defending Banchero did more to show off Tatum’s early-season mindset. On the second leg of a back-to-back, he could have let the Celtics coast but refused to let them settle for a weak effort. In some ways, he wasn’t just setting the tone for Saturday night, but for the entire season. With one demand, Tatum made it clear that every game matters to him. That he won’t stand for any slippage. That the finals loss has shaped his approach to this season and convinced him to take everything seriously."

https://theathletic.com/3720306/2022/10/23/celtics-jayson-tatum-paolo-banchero/
Pants off.

JT will get some rest days and reduced minutes days, but not many. Shades of angry Larry in 1984 imo.
 

benhogan

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A recent in-depth interview with Tatum was just loaded to youtube, in almost 20 clips:

View: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLW5qT4HIAd1ZVlSVdMNfgiEsANqfvFT2C



A lot of these stories have already been told, but there's some stuff here that I didn't recognize (what happened when Tatum first met Jordan, his reaction when his girlfriend was pregnant, etc).
2019 Jordan Brand line-up: Kemba, Blake Griffin, Westbrook, Melo

JT needs to ditch that brand, it's bad luck
 

Reverend

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Great thread about Tatum’s defense as a wing. Turns out he is one of the best.
View: https://twitter.com/HoopsEmpire_/status/1586045694678269953?s=20&t=lfpBNUrBJKmlueHUVCxuHg
I am so here for all the coverage that Tatum is one of the best defenders in the league.

I am also a little interested in how often so many of the people who write about this still act… well, we all know this here, but the whole “defense matters too” thing… people sorta know it… but are they ever really gonna get it?

Anyway: I fucking love, love, love the fact that Tatum wants to be locked in on every facet of the game.
 

Humphrey

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Ran out of gas in the second half last night, accentuated by the Cavs' physical play and double teaming.

With the notable exception of Jalen Brown, teammates did not step up. Very poor offensive second half resulting in an OT loss.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Ran out of gas in the second half last night, accentuated by the Cavs' physical play and double teaming.

With the notable exception of Jalen Brown, teammates did not step up. Very poor offensive second half resulting in an OT loss.
town, for his part, had an awful third quarter and finished the game with 6 turnovers.
 

Euclis20

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Tatum was the only starter with a positive +/- tonight by a wide margin (he was +11, the other four starters ranged from -10 to -13), which seems hard to pull off. Really fun seeing him level up yet again, and while Luka and Morant may get more MVP buzz, they can't dream of the kind of 2-way impact that Tatum has.
 

Ed Hillel

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I’m not exactly sure what the tipping point was, but Tatum is getting superstar treatment from the refs now. With that, he’ll be a real MVP candidate.
 

lovegtm

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I’m not exactly sure what the tipping point was, but Tatum is getting superstar treatment from the refs now. With that, he’ll be a real MVP candidate.
He's getting the treatment, but he's also earning it.

He's not going up to try and draw fouls: he's going up in the paint to score, and unless you foul him, he's going to score. He's forcing the calls in a way he never did before.

The floater threat helps a lot with this, because the shot comes closer to the basket than a midranger, and he also extends the ball so that you rake him across the arm trying to stop it.

He obviously put a ton of work into this in what was a short summer; beyond impressive.
 

Eddie Jurak

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He's getting the treatment, but he's also earning it.

He's not going up to try and draw fouls: he's going up in the paint to score, and unless you foul him, he's going to score. He's forcing the calls in a way he never did before.

The floater threat helps a lot with this, because the shot comes closer to the basket than a midranger, and he also extends the ball so that you rake him across the arm trying to stop it.

He obviously put a ton of work into this in what was a short summer; beyond impressive.
This. He used to fall into the habit of driving past the hoop in an effort to score with his long reach or grift a foul. Now he drives to the hoop to score. There is more power to his game now, although, as you point out (floater) he is not without finesse when he needs it.

Putting some numbers to it:
  • If you look at Tatum's shooting percentages, he is right around his career averages from 3% (career, 38%, this year, 37%), but is crushing his career average from 2 (career, 50%, this year, 61%).
  • On a per 36 minute basis, he is taking about the same number of threes per game, while taking fewer twos than he has in any year since his rookie year, but hitting them at a much higher percentage than ever before. His progression from rookie year to now in attempted twos per 36: 8.7-10.6-12.0-13.1-12.0-10.4. Despite the lower volume he is averaging the name number of makes as last year (6.3, above his career average of 5.6) because his percentage is so much higher. But where have those missing shot attempts gone? To the free throw line. Here is his career progression in FTA per 36: 3.8-3.3-5.0-5.3-6.2-8.5. Basically, he's added some Paul Pierce to his game.
  • He's also blocking more shots this year, up to 1.4 per 36. It does seem like he is doing the Rob weak-side help thing a little bit, even though he's too valuable on the perimeter to have that as a dedicated role.
  • Career highs in true shooting, FT rate, block rate.
 
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Eddie Jurak

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This version of Tatum is damned exciting. Is this his idealized version? What would we have him do differently to take the next step?
He needs to find consistent success against the top rim protecting teams. Whether that's the floater or being able to create higher quality midrange shots for himself or being able to take it to the rim protectors and draw fouls. He gets that, he's MVP. He's already close.
 

chilidawg

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This. He used to fall into the habit of driving past the hoop in an effort to score with his long reach or grift a foul. Now he drives to the hoop to score. There is more power to his game now, although, as you point out (floater) he is not without finesse when he needs it.

Putting some numbers to it:
  • If you look at Tatum's shooting percentages, he is right around his career averages from 3% (career, 38%, this year, 37%), but is crushing his career average from 2 (career, 50%, this year, 61%).
  • On a per 36 minute basis, he is taking about the same number of threes per game, while taking fewer twos than he has in any year since his rookie year, but hitting them at a much higher percentage than ever before. His progression from rookie year to now in attempted twos per 36: 8.7-10.6-12.0-13.1-12.0-10.4. Despite the lower volume he is averaging the name number of makes as last year (6.3, above his career average of 5.6) because his percentage is so much higher. But where have those missing shot attempts gone? To the free throw line. Here is his career progression in FTA per 36: 3.8-3.3-5.0-5.3-6.2-8.5. Basically, he's added some Paul Pierce to his game.
  • He's also blocking more shots this year, up to 1.4 per 36. It does seem like he is doing the Rob weak-side help thing a little bit, even though he's too valuable on the perimeter to have that as a dedicated role.
  • Career highs in true shooting, FT rate, block rate.
Ball movement is benefitting Tatum as much as it is everyone else. His % of FGs assisted is up to 50%, from 38 and 43% the last two years. 3 pointers are 68% assisted, up from 47 and 57. Just playing good ball.
 

lovegtm

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Ball movement is benefitting Tatum as much as it is everyone else. His % of FGs assisted is up to 50%, from 38 and 43% the last two years. 3 pointers are 68% assisted, up from 47 and 57. Just playing good ball.
I actually like the fact that he's getting fewer assists too. The offense looks good when he doesn't have to initiate everything. Smart is helping a lot by improving at getting to the paint.
 

Jimbodandy

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I actually like the fact that he's getting fewer assists too. The offense looks good when he doesn't have to initiate everything. Smart is helping a lot by improving at getting to the paint.
And Brogdon when he's out there. Tatum and Brown getting the ball while the defense is already moving is a great thing to watch. The former is really capitalizing on that so far.
 

benhogan

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And Brogdon when he's out there. Tatum and Brown getting the ball while the defense is already moving is a great thing to watch. The former is really capitalizing on that so far.
hallelujah...Tatum/Brown cutting and getting the ball in attack is much more enjoyable to watch. Not a fan of Brown (or even JT) trying to initiate/get downhill from the top on their own against half-court defenses dug in, unfortunately, it leads to double teams, live TOs, and teammates standing around. Sprinkled in it's fine but when that becomes the default option with 5-mins left the C's offense gets way too predictable.

Smart/Brogdon/White, distributing, feeding the JAYs, Al, Grant, 3Sam cutting or on the perimeter has the potential to unlock this offense. Smart is offensively brilliant when attacking/bullying other PGs into the paint, it opens up the floor.
 

chilidawg

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From Keith Smith: Joe Mazzulla has made a slight tweak in the last couple of games to his defensive scheme. He’s started using Jayson Tatum more in the “roamer” role that Rob Williams played so perfectly last season. Tatum is nominally “guarding” the weakest offensive threat on the floor, but he’s really roaming around the paint as a help defender.
In this game, that meant Tatum was guarding Brandon Clarke most of the time. The added benefit against Memphis was that guarding Clarke kept Tatum close to the rim. With Tatum averaging a career-high 1.5 blocks per game, it’s not a bad choice by Mazzulla to deploy him in a different way from being a straight-up defender.


I thought coming into the year that this made sense with a 1 big lineup. He's a much better rim defender than GW or Jaylen.


https://www.celticsblog.com/2022/11/8/23447244/skywalking-in-memphis-10-takeaways-from-boston-celtics-memphis-grizzlies
 

lovegtm

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From Keith Smith: Joe Mazzulla has made a slight tweak in the last couple of games to his defensive scheme. He’s started using Jayson Tatum more in the “roamer” role that Rob Williams played so perfectly last season. Tatum is nominally “guarding” the weakest offensive threat on the floor, but he’s really roaming around the paint as a help defender.
In this game, that meant Tatum was guarding Brandon Clarke most of the time. The added benefit against Memphis was that guarding Clarke kept Tatum close to the rim. With Tatum averaging a career-high 1.5 blocks per game, it’s not a bad choice by Mazzulla to deploy him in a different way from being a straight-up defender.


I thought coming into the year that this made sense with a 1 big lineup. He's a much better rim defender than GW or Jaylen.


https://www.celticsblog.com/2022/11/8/23447244/skywalking-in-memphis-10-takeaways-from-boston-celtics-memphis-grizzlies
I and others suggested doing exactly this earlier in this thread; good to see. I love Mazzulla's creativity and willingness to experiment. Very confident coach, from what I can tell.
 

Euclis20

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I’m not exactly sure what the tipping point was, but Tatum is getting superstar treatment from the refs now. With that, he’ll be a real MVP candidate.
Indeed. 8.9 FT attempts per game, way up from last year (6.2) and more than double his career average heading into the season (4.4). 5th in the league in attempts per game, tied with Ja and just behind Durant.
 

Jimbodandy

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I and others suggested doing exactly this earlier in this thread; good to see. I love Mazzulla's creativity and willingness to experiment. Very confident coach, from what I can tell.
Word. Clearly he has been making adjustments to the offense too. The cutting and passing overall has been a joy.

I love that Tatum-as-roamer is another tool for the toolbox. In a lot of cases, we wouldn't want that for a matchup. But some nights, it's sublime. And his BBIQ is high enough to add huge value as random doubler/roamer without exposing the backside too too much.
 

reggiecleveland

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From Keith Smith: Joe Mazzulla has made a slight tweak in the last couple of games to his defensive scheme. He’s started using Jayson Tatum more in the “roamer” role that Rob Williams played so perfectly last season. Tatum is nominally “guarding” the weakest offensive threat on the floor, but he’s really roaming around the paint as a help defender.
In this game, that meant Tatum was guarding Brandon Clarke most of the time. The added benefit against Memphis was that guarding Clarke kept Tatum close to the rim. With Tatum averaging a career-high 1.5 blocks per game, it’s not a bad choice by Mazzulla to deploy him in a different way from being a straight-up defender.


I thought coming into the year that this made sense with a 1 big lineup. He's a much better rim defender than GW or Jaylen.


https://www.celticsblog.com/2022/11/8/23447244/skywalking-in-memphis-10-takeaways-from-boston-celtics-memphis-grizzlies
I think this is more of a way for him to use less energy on D, and to me is actually vote of confidence for JB and Grant.. It offers teams a choice going smaller. The other team can play a big shotblocker, rebounder or two that can probably match on the Cs forwards, especially the bench guys, but since Tatum can guard those guys and JB, Grant are able to guard wings, and 4,s. Tatum's is big enough only a skilled low post guy (not many around) can take advantage of him. This also keeps Tatum fresh to guard the other team's star at the end of games, or put out fires if somebody starts going off.

I will dare to compare this to how Bird was used in a different era. Bird often guarded fours and Mchale took on the more athletic 3s. I was at a forum with Reggie Miller when some kid told Reggie he overrated Bird because he was terrible on d. Miller said Bird guarded bigger guys and told the kid to find videos of Bird getting eaten up inside by 4s and 5s he guarded. Reggie answered five or six mores sentences then called out the kid, "Hey, you got no signal, where's your vids of Bird getting eaten up by bigs?" His point was bird guarding bigs meant the other team will have the problems since Bird was so good offensively. The plan had Bias joined the team was to insert him in the forward rotation since he and Mchale would guard 3/4, aging Bird and Parish would guard 4/5/.
 
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Jimbodandy

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I think this is more of a way for him to use less energy on D, and to me is actually vote of confidence for JB and Grant.. It offers teams a choice going smaller. The other team can play a big shotblocker, rebounder or two that can probably match on the Cs forwards, especially the bench guys, but since Tatum can guard those guys and JB, Grant are able to guard wings, and 4,s. Tatum's is big enough only a skilled low post guy (not many around) can take advantage of him. This also keeps Tatum fresh to guard the other team's star at the end of games, or put out fires if somebody starts going off.

I will dare to compare this to how Bird was used in a different era. Bird often guarded fours and Mchale took on the more athletic 3s. I was at a forum with Reggie Miller when some kid told Reggie he overrated Bird because he was terrible on d. Miller said Bird guarded bigger guys and told the kid to find videos of Bird getting eaten up inside by 4s and 5s he guarded. Reggie answered five or six mores sentences then called out the kid, "Hey, you got no signal, where's your vids of Bird getting eaten up by bigs?" His point was bird guarding bigs meant the other team will have the problems since Bird was so good offensively. The plan had Bias joined the team was to insert him in the forward rotation since he and Mchale would guard 3/4, aging Bird and Parish would guard 4/5/.
Thanks for this. That's fascinating.

I do remember McHale taking fast 3s because he could give the guy a step and still bother his shot with his inspector gadget arms and still block the guy from behind after he walked by him. Guy had mad radius.
 

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I think this is more of a way for him to use less energy on D, and to me is actually vote of confidence for JB and Grant.. It offers teams a choice going smaller. The other team can play a big shotblocker, rebounder or two that can probably match on the Cs forwards, especially the bench guys, but since Tatum can guard those guys and JB, Grant are able to guard wings, and 4,s. Tatum's is big enough only a skilled low post guy (not many around) can take advantage of him. This also keeps Tatum fresh to guard the other team's star at the end of games, or put out fires if somebody starts going off.

I will dare to compare this to how Bird was used in a different era. Bird often guarded fours and Mchale took on the more athletic 3s. I was at a forum with Reggie Miller when some kid told Reggie he overrated Bird because he was terrible on d. Miller said Bird guarded bigger guys and told the kid to find videos of Bird getting eaten up inside by 4s and 5s he guarded. Reggie answered five or six mores sentences then called out the kid, "Hey, you got no signal, where's your vids of Bird getting eaten up by bigs?" His point was bird guarding bigs meant the other team will have the problems since Bird was so good offensively. The plan had Bias joined the team was to insert him in the forward rotation since he and Mchale would guard 3/4, aging Bird and Parish would guard 4/5/.
I feel like this has been a typical MO since the days of MJ and simply makes good sense.
 

reggiecleveland

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I feel like this has been a typical MO since the days of MJ and simply makes good sense.
Except it takes a player good enough and with elite size to do it. Tatum can play virtually any position on offence and is big enough to guard forwards, smart enough to direct traffic make the help decisions. You can almost sub in any guy for any other guy and between him and Smart you can make it work.

I can just say it is so much fun to coach a great player.
 

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Except it takes a player good enough and with elite size to do it. Tatum can play virtually any position on offence and is big enough to guard forwards, smart enough to direct traffic make the help decisions. You can almost sub in any guy for any other guy and between him and Smart you can make it work.

I can just say it is so much fun to coach a great player.
True. But I was thinking more of the energy savings in letting your best offensive threat chill on defense until absolutely needed.
 

benhogan

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Tatum TOP20 shot blocker + TOP5 perimeter defender should be in the running for All-Defense.

and Tatum TOP3 NBA player by playoffs 2023 is on track
 

benhogan

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From Keith Smith: Joe Mazzulla has made a slight tweak in the last couple of games to his defensive scheme. He’s started using Jayson Tatum more in the “roamer” role that Rob Williams played so perfectly last season. Tatum is nominally “guarding” the weakest offensive threat on the floor, but he’s really roaming around the paint as a help defender.
In this game, that meant Tatum was guarding Brandon Clarke most of the time. The added benefit against Memphis was that guarding Clarke kept Tatum close to the rim. With Tatum averaging a career-high 1.5 blocks per game, it’s not a bad choice by Mazzulla to deploy him in a different way from being a straight-up defender.


I thought coming into the year that this made sense with a 1 big lineup. He's a much better rim defender than GW or Jaylen.


https://www.celticsblog.com/2022/11/8/23447244/skywalking-in-memphis-10-takeaways-from-boston-celtics-memphis-grizzlies
I didn't notice Tatum guarding Hartenstein when they played the Knicks
 

reggiecleveland

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True. But I was thinking more of the energy savings in letting your best offensive threat chill on defense until absolutely needed.
I believe you are right that in late 80s that became an idea. before that basketball coaches were in the Bob Knight type where if you were tired you were week and then it will bew fixed by more sets of lines.
 

benhogan

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We used Brogdon on him quite a bit. I felt at the time that was some creative work by Mazzulla.
in a short time, I see some Brad-inspired coaching. Joe's ATO play design when Tatum tied the score against CLE was very clever and has several different options, off that set, moving forward.

On defense. Tatum, "free safety", was used by Brad for numerous seasons. So I can see where folks want JT to step into that TL-"roaming" defender role. In late/close, still prefer Tatum/Smart up tight on the opponent's alpha scorers on the perimeter
 

BaseballJones

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This version of Tatum is damned exciting. Is this his idealized version? What would we have him do differently to take the next step?
He's averaging 31.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks a game with an eFG% of .582.

I'm not sure there's much more room for growth, unless someone out there really thinks he can be a 35 point, 10 rebound, 6 assist, .625 eFG% kind of player, which would basically be...among the best players ever.
 

Fishy1

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He's averaging 31.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks a game with an eFG% of .582.

I'm not sure there's much more room for growth, unless someone out there really thinks he can be a 35 point, 10 rebound, 6 assist, .625 eFG% kind of player, which would basically be...among the best players ever.
He's managing all of this while also buying in to the offense in a way he hasn't been able to before, largely because it's been a while since this team had a third fiddle as good as Brogdon. He's been a monster thusfar. He's on a mission to dominate the league.
 

HomeRunBaker

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in a short time, I see some Brad-inspired coaching. Joe's ATO play design when Tatum tied the score against CLE was very clever and has several different options, off that set, moving forward.

On defense. Tatum, "free safety", was used by Brad for numerous seasons. So I can see where folks want JT to step into that TL-"roaming" defender role. In late/close, still prefer Tatum/Smart up tight on the opponent's alpha scorers on the perimeter
I see a lot of a Bobby Huggins influence in how he approaches defense as well that he picked up from his college playing days.
 

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Jason Timpf has Tatum as the number 4 player in the league based on performance so far this season. I set this up to start with the Tatum portion but you can go back to the beginning if you want to hear the whole top 10 or hear him explain his criteria. I don't agree with everything he said but he provides some decent analysis of what Tatum is doing better this year.

View: https://youtu.be/_F89nLDky8I?t=892
 
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TripleOT

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I didn’t think JT was having a particularly good game against Denver, and was surprised when seeing he had 30 points. I guess there are games where you can have a quiet 34 points, especially the way he is scoring so easily on layups and free throws. What an incredible improvement inside the arc he has shown so far this season, actually shooting a higher percentage from two than Giannis and KD.
 

lovegtm

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I didn’t think JT was having a particularly good game against Denver, and was surprised when seeing he had 30 points. I guess there are games where you can have a quiet 34 points, especially the way he is scoring so easily on layups and free throws. What an incredible improvement inside the arc he has shown so far this season, actually shooting a higher percentage from two than Giannis and KD.
It's amazing what 9 trips to the line a game and lots of rim attempts do for your efficiency even on 2-7 from 3 nights.
 

RorschachsMask

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It's amazing what 9 trips to the line a game and lots of rim attempts do for your efficiency even on 2-7 from 3 nights.
34/8/5, 65% TS, 1 turnover, was +18, and it seemed like a quiet game to a lot of people.

He’s setting an incredible standard lol.
 
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