Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

lovegtm

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He's got a mismatch there, so that's absolutely what he should do in that case. No mismatch it's often a different story.

Watched the highlights from last nights game and although his shot wasn't falling there were at least 3 instances that he attacked off the dribble and drew the defense, didn't convert, but it meant an easy put back for Turner.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKFQs1jo_6s
It’s noteworthy that his increased strength is giving him more of those mismatches, and letting him attack them in a more bullying manner.
 

Spelunker

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What's a 5 letter word for "N.B.A. phenom Jayson"?

Our boy reached NYTimes crossword puzzle status.
 
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lovegtm

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ESPN story on how Tatum is trying to shed the Kobe training: https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/27795809/the-de-kobeing-jayson-tatum-begun

At least he figured out the problem:

Shedding all the iso crap and going to the basket more is exactly what he needs. Seems like he's got that figured out.
Hearing it from a different, respected voice (Pop) also seems to have helped too. I think we sometimes forget that the dude would be entering his senior year in college right now: he's really young, and things take time.
 

nighthob

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Shedding all the iso crap and going to the basket more is exactly what he needs. Seems like he's got that figured out.
I think the biggest issue is gaining confidence in shooting off the dribble treys. He clearly didn't have that confidence and when people ran him at the line he was ducking under and shooting from 3-5 steps in. So if he's confident now shooting off slide steps et al, that's going to be huge for his game. He still needs another 15 lbs of muscle to round out his drive game.
 

amarshal2

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Very, very early but the box scores on Tatum are interesting.

His shot selection by distance is obviously different vs last year by percentage.
0-3 feet: he’s at about 32% of his shots at this range vs 26% last year (and 32% his rookie year)
3pt: 34% this year vs 30% last year and 29% the year before
3ft-3pt: 34% this year vs 44% last year with the biggest drop coming in the long 2’s.

Considering preseason and off season news I don’t think this is premature. I think this is intentional and real improvement. Id really like to see him cut the long 2 (~11% of shots) out of his game almost entirely. And spread it to the rest. That will be very helpful to his efficiency.

Where I hope there’s just small sample size is in the near basket FG%.
0-3 feet: he’s shooting 42% vs 68% a year ago
3pt: he’s shooting under 20% vs just under 40% a year ago
3ft-3pt: 53% vs 37% a year ago
His in close shots might not be fully comparable to a year ago as they might just be different shots. He’s dunking it at about 1/3 the rate, for example. But 42% is hilariously bad and he will improve, hopefully a lot. His shot selection in the mid range has improved and otherwise the shots are the same. I’d expect this to normalize out to closer to 40% in short order. His 3pt% is obviously unsustainable but I’ll wager it’s an indicator of real improvement. It’ll be interesting to see if he can stick at or above 40% on high volume.

They need to just let him keep doing what he’s doing on the pick and rolls to the basket and three point shots. There’s no better year for him to push himself and learn. If he can get back close to his rookie year percentages on those shots at high utilization he’ll be an all star and one of the best players in the game. Obviously this is not the expectation but if he maintained his career shooting rates (without accounting for shot selection changes within his 2PT shots) at his current usage he’d be scoring ~26.5 points per game (vs 23.0 right now. His rookie year rates would have him at ~27.3 ppg).

per 36 and advanced rates for 2 games this year/18/17
Rebounds: 9.5/7/6
Assists: 3/2.5/2
Steals: 2.5/1.2/1.2
Blocks: 0.0/0.8/0.9
TO: 2.0/1.8/1.7
Usage: 28.4/22/19.5
FtR: .18/.22/.31

He got off to a hot start a year ago in rebounding and didn’t maintain his pace but did show a real improvement.

Based on world basketball and preseason I think the assist rate improvement is very real and probably understates given his much better assist% as his teammates hit shots.

I dunno what to make of the steal and block numbers, I think they’re noise for now. He does look like a menace defensively FWIW.

His TO numbers are actually quite impressive given the jump in usage. I hope that holds.

The free throw rate is frustrating. He is really avoiding contact and he doesn’t have the touch to be a plus finisher around the basket. This is the biggest area where he can really improve his game I think. Not a small thing but totally learnable.

Overall his efficiency around the basket bears watching and we’ll see what holds but an exciting/promising start.
 
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NomarsFool

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Visually, he's driving to the basket a TON. Unfortunately, in the first two games I felt like he was missing those shots. All toast and no jelly :) But, I think they will fall eventually.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Visually, he's driving to the basket a TON. Unfortunately, in the first two games I felt like he was missing those shots. All toast and no jelly :) But, I think they will fall eventually.
Agreed. He's taken some awkward tweener shots that haven't looked great but he is certainly making a conscious effort to either take it to the basket vs. settling for the mid-range jumper.
 

nighthob

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He’s still 15-20 pounds away from being an elite finisher. Right now he gets mauled on drives but he doesn’t get calls because he isn’t strong enough to absorb the contact. He’s going to get there, though.
 

benhogan

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He’s still 15-20 pounds away from being an elite finisher. Right now he gets mauled on drives but he doesn’t get calls because he isn’t strong enough to absorb the contact. He’s going to get there, though.
^this exactly^

The 2021 playoffs will be awesome with him and Jaylen going nuts
 

Big John

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He’s still 15-20 pounds away from being an elite finisher. Right now he gets mauled on drives but he doesn’t get calls because he isn’t strong enough to absorb the contact. He’s going to get there, though.
Yes. Look at those shoulders. He could easily add 15-20 pounds of muscle.
 

nighthob

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Yes. Look at those shoulders. He could easily add 15-20 pounds of muscle.
He should be able to play at 240 or so with no loss of athleticism. Once he gets into that 235-240 range he’s going to get more calls.
 

Spelunker

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He'll definitely get stronger. But I don't think his main issue so far has been finishing through contact. He's going hard to the rim, but it's kinda out of control and his shots have had no touch at all. It's weird: a lot of his drives so far look like a crappy high school player, not someone we thought had a preternatural feel for offense.

He'll finish better as he fills out. But his celling is sagging just a bit for me with how bad his in close touch looks.
 

lovegtm

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Honestly I'd just like to see him take more 3s off the dribble in PnR. It's his most comfortable shot (non catch-and-shoot) by far right now.
 

Over Guapo Grande

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He'll definitely get stronger. But I don't think his main issue so far has been finishing through contact. He's going hard to the rim, but it's kinda out of control and his shots have had no touch at all. It's weird: a lot of his drives so far look like a crappy high school player, not someone we thought had a preternatural feel for offense.

He'll finish better as he fills out. But his celling is sagging just a bit for me with how bad his in close touch looks.
To my untrained eye, he doesn't have the explosion at the rim that I would expect. It almost looks like he is going up wrong footed a lot, based on how easily it appears that he is getting smothered there (compared to JB). Maybe that is just part and parcel of going up through contact.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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He should be able to play at 240 or so with no loss of athleticism. Once he gets into that 235-240 range he’s going to get more calls.
To my untrained eye, he doesn't have the explosion at the rim that I would expect. It almost looks like he is going up wrong footed a lot, based on how easily it appears that he is getting smothered there (compared to JB). Maybe that is just part and parcel of going up through contact.
From the beginning he should have been trying to emulate Paul Pierce rather than Kobe. He’ll probably never be quite as strong as the former but it’s a guarantee he’ll never be as quick or have the first step of the latter.
 

lovegtm

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From the beginning he should have been trying to emulate Paul Pierce rather than Kobe. He’ll probably never be quite as strong as the former but it’s a guarantee he’ll never be as quick or have the first step of the latter.
The guy he should probably most be trying to emulate is on his own team: Hayward. Similar size, skillset, and ability to run PnR as a shooting threat from 3. Tatum could learn a lot from how under-control Hayward stays throughout the process of his probing.
 

Big John

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I'd be happy with 4 steals and 9 rebounds every game. I'd like him to let the game come to him. No need to force shots. I'd also like to see more assists like the one last night to Brown.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Tatum seems to have a lot of aptitude for the game of basketball along with his physical talent.

This feels like the first time he has been trying to develop his game in a particular direction. Attacking the rim (or shooting threes) while being a go to scorer.

I think there is still plenty of time for him to continue to figure things out.

I like this version of Tatum better than the “I can get a mid range jumper any time I want to do I’m just going to keep doing that” version.
 

Jimbodandy

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Tatum seems to have a lot of aptitude for the game of basketball along with his physical talent.

This feels like the first time he has been trying to develop his game in a particular direction. Attacking the rim (or shooting threes) while being a go to scorer.

I think there is still plenty of time for him to continue to figure things out.

I like this version of Tatum better than the “I can get a mid range jumper any time I want to do I’m just going to keep doing that” version.
This new version of Tatum is great for us and for him. I'm glad that he has fully bought in. But it is important for us to remember that there will be some learning curve. Taking mildly contested threes rather than stepping into wide open long twos is new for him. Prioritizing diving the rim in traffic, finishing through contact, and actively seeking free throws is also a new focus. It might take a while for the comfort level and touch to arrive. But it's something that should pay off huge.
 

nighthob

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He'll definitely get stronger. But I don't think his main issue so far has been finishing through contact. He's going hard to the rim, but it's kinda out of control and his shots have had no touch at all. It's weird: a lot of his drives so far look like a crappy high school player, not someone we thought had a preternatural feel for offense.
He’s looking for the openings to squeeze his shot through as he isn’t big enough yet to just go through the contact and get the shot off anyway. And because he’s twisting himself into a pretzel to be able to get the shot up, he isn’t getting the calls when he gets pushed off the path to the basket. But he will eventually get strong enough to survive in traffic.
 

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Somebody told a great joke about the problem with a lack of veterans on a team means not learning how to beat drug tests.

So, why isn’t anyone hooking Tatum up with the good drugs?
 

NomarsFool

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I really like how Tatum has looked defensively and in grabbing rebounds this year. The finishing at the rim has been weak, but that will come in time. The most surprising so far is his 3 point shooting hasn't looked that great yet - should be the easiest thing to take from off season to regular season. But, still small sample size.

There are quite a few folks on the team I wish would take more judicious 3 point attempts. Edwards putting it up from 4 feet behind the line was fun in pre-season, but now he's got much better options playing with him on the court. I feel like Smart would shoot 50% from 3 if he didn't hoist up the stupid shots.
 

Spelunker

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I really like how Tatum has looked defensively and in grabbing rebounds this year. The finishing at the rim has been weak, but that will come in time. The most surprising so far is his 3 point shooting hasn't looked that great yet - should be the easiest thing to take from off season to regular season. But, still small sample size.

There are quite a few folks on the team I wish would take more judicious 3 point attempts. Edwards putting it up from 4 feet behind the line was fun in pre-season, but now he's got much better options playing with him on the court. I feel like Smart would shoot 50% from 3 if he didn't hoist up the stupid shots.
3s are the one shot of his that doesn't have me worried: he's shooting 46% right now.

I think what's getting me about his drives is how awkward his shots look: zero touch, and awkwardly wrong-footed. Maybe being stronger will allow those to be more in control. Hopefully. If he shows any touch inside then he'll be the monster we want him to be.

Edit: I mean how crazy is this (especially given that he's cut out long 2s):

From 3: 10/22 .455
From 2: 11/39 .282

Yikes.
 

benhogan

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There is absolutely zero, nothing, nada that has me worried one ounce about Tatum's game. Just the fact that he has started adjusting his shot selection, worked on it with Drew Hanlan this Summer, and will continue to work on it during the season.

He has the greenest of green lights on all 3pt attempts. Drives will improve with experience and he'll start kicking when he doesn't have an advantage.
 

benhogan

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Good article here about what Tatum is doing and what he can do at therim.

good article.

Tatum has also faced Embiid, Horford, Mitchell Robinson, Ibaka and Siakam. All pretty decent at protecting the rim.
 

amarshal2

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Another thing John said on the podcast is that Tatum still plays like he’s a little guy going around people but he’s not. I’ve seen people up thread say “he needs to add weight” and I don’t think they’re necessarily right. He’s broad and muscular in the shoulders and he’s 6’9”. He’s got a good deal of size. He can probably go through people or at least warn the shots more often than he thinks without getting blocked. He just needs to learn how to play like it.
 

DJnVa

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Locked On Celtics pod with Karalis this morning talked about how Tatum is now taking about 3 "floaters" (by NBA.com definition) per game. Last year he took about .6 per game. He's not hitting them regularly yet but this seems to be the next step in driving to the hoop and adding to his arsenal. Hopefully these shots will start to drop and defenses will adjust, which will allow him to blow past the close out for lay-ins.
 

lovegtm

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or 2 years and 8 games...

take your pick
I like Tatum, but Brown is at another level from him currently in ability to get to the rim and finish. He’s also a bit more versatile defensively and is a monster in transition.

That said, Tatum has a lot of other stuff he does well, and if he can gain strength and improve finishing moves, he could leapfrog back in front.

At this point it’s more likely than not that we get to enjoy them both for a long time.
 

benhogan

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I like Tatum, but Brown is at another level from him currently in ability to get to the rim and finish. He’s also a bit more versatile defensively and is a monster in transition.

That said, Tatum has a lot of other stuff he does well, and if he can gain strength and improve finishing moves, he could leapfrog back in front.

At this point it’s more likely than not that we get to enjoy them both for a long time.
Ha, I'll let you have your moment since your guy went off last night. :redwine:

I love them both
 

RorschachsMask

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I think Tatum is a better defender than Jaylen. Jaylen is a bit better man to man, but Tatum is a monster team defender.

Sure is nice to have both of them though.
 

TripleOT

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It's great that neither Tatum nor Brown care who is considered the better player. Getting to watch these two as they mature into NBA stars as they play in all meaningful games, unlike most high picks who play for years in garbage conditions, has been interesting.

They've both handled everything very well. Brown was amazing in San Antonio. Hopefully, he can impact games offensively with more consistency now that Hayward is out. Brown's at 79.2% from the line, with his volume up to 4.8 per game, up from 2.7 last season.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I'd give Tatum the edge in creating his own shot. As one example, Jaylen is mostly a spot up shooter from three, whereas Tatum can shake his man and get off a good shot from three.

Brown, this year, is stronger and a better finisher around the net, which hasn't always been the case.
 

TripleOT

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I'd give Tatum the edge in creating his own shot. As one example, Jaylen is mostly a spot up shooter from three, whereas Tatum can shake his man and get off a good shot from three.

Brown, this year, is stronger and a better finisher around the net, which hasn't always been the case.
Brown around 64% at the rim for his career, about the same as Tatum, who is struggling at the tin so far this season.