Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

ifmanis5

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Tatum has too many games this season like he had last night where he just can't shoot straight:

1/3/20: 2-16 FG, 0-2 3FG vs ATL (W)
12/25/19: 5-18 FG, 1-3 3FG at TOR (W)
12/12: 5-18, FG 3-8 3FG vs PHI (L)
12/11: 4-13 FG, 2-8 3FG at IND (L)
12/4: 6-19 FG, 2-12 3FG vs MIA (W)
11/27: 5-17 FG, 0-4 3FG vs. BKN (W)
11/11: 1-18 FG, 0-3 3FG vs DAL (W)
10/26: 5-17 FG, 2-7 3FG at NYK (W)

The good news is that teammates have stepped up to pick up the slack in these games as the record is 6-2. Maturing is consistency in the league and he still has work to do there.
 

lovegtm

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Tatum has too many games this season like he had last night where he just can't shoot straight:

1/3/20: 2-16 FG, 0-2 3FG vs ATL (W)
12/25/19: 5-18 FG, 1-3 3FG at TOR (W)
12/12: 5-18, FG 3-8 3FG vs PHI (L)
12/11: 4-13 FG, 2-8 3FG at IND (L)
12/4: 6-19 FG, 2-12 3FG vs MIA (W)
11/27: 5-17 FG, 0-4 3FG vs. BKN (W)
11/11: 1-18 FG, 0-3 3FG vs DAL (W)
10/26: 5-17 FG, 2-7 3FG at NYK (W)

The good news is that teammates have stepped up to pick up the slack in these games as the record is 6-2. Maturing is consistency in the league and he still has work to do there.
His shot selection was pretty good in this one though, just missed layups.
 

DJnVa

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Is that a lot of bad games for a guy that plays like him? Jimmy Butler seems to have a similar number of games where he shoots like that:
2-10
7-21
3-11
8-22
3-14
5-17
3-11
3-16
 

lovegtm

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Is that a lot of bad games for a guy that plays like him? Jimmy Butler seems to have a similar number of games where he shoots like that:
2-10
7-21
3-11
8-22
3-14
5-17
3-11
3-16
Yeah, and he plays good D nearly every night. If he improves a bit at finishing and unassisted 3s, we’ll all be back to drooling over him again.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Is that a lot of bad games for a guy that plays like him? Jimmy Butler seems to have a similar number of games where he shoots like that:
2-10
7-21
3-11
8-22
3-14
5-17
3-11
3-16
Butler TS% the last six seasons: .583, .562, .586, .590, .571, .571 (this season). Tatum this season: .526.

League average is in the .550-.560 range.

Tatum’s still super-young; and 21 y.o. players tend to improve their efficiency, sometimes drastically. Plus his elite, uber-versatile D has made him a big positive on the floor this season, despite all the clanging. But if he wants to be a bona fide offensive star in the Kawhi/George/Butler/Siakam mold, he’s going to need to start scoring more like them and less like Andrew Wiggins.

Siakam and George put up .523 and .531 TS at his current age, so there’s definitely reason for optimism.
 
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DJnVa

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Butler TS% the last six seasons: .583, .562, .586, .590, .571, .571 (this season). Tatum this season: .526.
This kinda proves my point though, doesn't it? Even better shooters have games like that. Seems like a pretty normal distribution.
 

Sam Ray Not

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This kinda proves my point though, doesn't it? Even better shooters have games like that. Seems like a pretty normal distribution.
Yeah — the issue isn’t the distribution, it’s the well below-average efficiency overall. To the extent that a more level distribution is something players can control, I’m not even sure it’s particularly better to shoot 5-10 every game than to alternate 3-10 and 7-10. Either way, he needs to (and likely will) get better than .526 TS overall.
 

nighthob

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Siakam and George put up .523 and .531 TS at his current age, so there’s definitely reason for optimism.
Yeah, but you have to admit that it’s easier to have that sort of efficiency playing New Mexico State’s opponents than Boston’s. ;)
 

ifmanis5

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Yeah — the issue isn’t the distribution, it’s the well below-average efficiency overall. To the extent that a more level distribution is something players can control, I’m not even sure it’s particularly better to shoot 5-10 every game than to alternate 3-10 and 7-10. Either way, he needs to (and likely will) get better than .526 TS overall.
Exactly this.

And as I mentioned, as he matures I'd expect these games to be less often and/or less inefficient.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Yeah, but you have to admit that it’s easier to have that sort of efficiency playing New Mexico State’s opponents than Boston’s. ;)
Heh, good point. I was talking about Siakam's rookie (age 22) season. That's next season for Tatum.
 

Euclis20

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Yeah — the issue isn’t the distribution, it’s the well below-average efficiency overall. To the extent that a more level distribution is something players can control, I’m not even sure it’s particularly better to shoot 5-10 every game than to alternate 3-10 and 7-10. Either way, he needs to (and likely will) get better than .526 TS overall.
There are 32 players averaging 20+ ppg this year. Of that group, Tatum is 31st in TS, ahead of only Westbrook (and right behind Wiggins). Improvement will come, but at the moment he's a very inefficient scorer.

Brown is 3rd on this list, kemba is 14th.
 

the moops

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There are 32 players averaging 20+ ppg this year. Of that group, Tatum is 31st in TS, ahead of only Westbrook (and right behind Wiggins). Improvement will come, but at the moment he's a very inefficient scorer.

Brown is 3rd on this list, kemba is 14th.
And KAT is #1 on that list :)
 

Sam Ray Not

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And KAT is #1 on that list :)
Heck, not just #1 on that list — #2 *all-time* among 20+ ppg scorers, and threatening to knock Steph out of the top spot.

Career True Shooting % (min. 20 PPG, min. 10,000 minutes)
====
.623 Stephen Curry
.622 Karl-Anthony Towns
.617 Adrian Dantley
.613 Kevin Durant
.612 Charles Barkley
.611 James Harden
.592 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
.586 Anthony Davis
.586 LeBron James
.586 Shaquille O'Neal
.583 David Robinson
.577 Karl Malone
.577 Dirk Nowitzki
.574 Damian Lillard
.572 George Gervin
.572 Dan Issel
.571 Kyrie Irving
.569 Michael Jordan
.569 Moses Malone
.566 David Thompson
.564 Larry Bird
.564 Paul George
.564 Oscar Robertson

Decent company.
 

Cesar Crespo

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It seems like most of Tatum's shooting woes this season compared to last years is from 0-3 feet in. He's a bit worse from 10-16 too but he shoots 25% from 0-3, 14% from 10-16. I threw in his rookie season because why not?

1st year, 2nd year, this year
From 0-3: .629, .678, .549
From 3-10: .258, .326, .388
From 10-16: .438, .430, .398
From 16-3pt: .420, .349, .355
From 3: .434, .373, .363

Shooting 13% worse from 0-3 and that's 1/4 of his shots. If he was hitting those at the same clip as last year, he'd be shooting roughly .450/.363/.846. Last season he was .450/.373/.855.

Is there a cause?
 

amarshal2

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It seems like most of Tatum's shooting woes this season compared to last years is from 0-3 feet in. He's a bit worse from 10-16 too but he shoots 25% from 0-3, 14% from 10-16. I threw in his rookie season because why not?

1st year, 2nd year, this year
From 0-3: .629, .678, .549
From 3-10: .258, .326, .388
From 10-16: .438, .430, .398
From 16-3pt: .420, .349, .355
From 3: .434, .373, .363
Shooting 13% worse from 0-3 and that's 1/4 of his shots. If he was hitting those at the same clip as last year, he'd be shooting roughly .450/.363/.846. Last season he was .450/.373/.855.

Is there a cause?
There is a cause: increased volume/usage.

The analysis above yours misses a really important point. Tatum has stretches and years of above league average TS% and we were all screaming at him to shoot more. Then he started shooting more but it was too much mid range 10-3pt range. So he increased his share of threes and layups, exactly as we all wanted, and there’s been some growing pains.

Quoting his 2019/20 TS% without other seasons or context of the changes he’s making is incomplete at best. I agree it’s to be seen if he can be a high usage, efficient scorer or if he’s going to need to play off to max his efficiency. He’s 21 and had a good December (.562 TS) at very high usage (29). Lots of reason for optimism.

Despite his rough patches he’s an all-star caliber player and a better player than Jaylen, who is becoming one of the most efficient wings in the league. As I’ve said many times up thread, I’d like to see Tatum keep pushing himself to be a better high usage player, both in terms of finding how he can be most efficient as a scorer and recognizing when to make the pass. Don’t stop trying now because you’ve had some bad games.
 
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DJnVa

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Yeah — the issue isn’t the distribution, it’s the well below-average efficiency overall.
The difference is FTs. Tatum's eFG is better than Butler's. That said, my entire point was responding to the "too many bad shooting games" thing--raw shooting, how many makes and misses.

I'm not sure 8 games of "bad shooting" out of 30 or so games is too many or not, that's all I was looking for. Of course we want fewer of them.
 

Cesar Crespo

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There is a cause: increased volume/usage.

The analysis above yours misses a really important point. Tatum has stretches and years of above league average TS% and we were all screaming at him to shoot more. Then he started shooting more but it was too much mid range 10-3pt range. So he increased his share of threes and layups, exactly as we all wanted, and there’s been some growing pains.

Quoting his 2019/20 TS% without other seasons or context of the changes he’s making is incomplete at best. It’s to be seen if he can be a high usage, efficient scorer or if he’s going to need to play off to max his usage. He’s 21. Despite this he’s a better player than Jaylen, who is becoming one of the most efficient wings in the league.

As I’ve said many times up thread, I’d like to see Tatum keep pushing himself to be a better high usage player, both in terms of finding how he can be most efficient as a scorer and recognizing when to make the pass. Don’t stop trying now because you’ve had some bad games.
Usage: 19.1%, 22.1%, 27.8%.

Should've thought of that one myself.
 

lovegtm

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Usage: 19.1%, 22.1%, 27.8%.

Should've thought of that one myself.
Yeah, and what higher usage looks like on the court is that a lot more of those rim attempts are self-created, tougher layups, as opposed to straight-line drives with easier finishes.

Young players typically improve finishing (on equivalent attempts) as they gain experience and strength. Everything about how Tatum is constructing his game is super-promising imo.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Yeah, and what higher usage looks like on the court is that a lot more of those rim attempts are self-created, tougher layups, as opposed to straight-line drives with easier finishes.

Young players typically improve finishing (on equivalent attempts) as they gain experience and strength. Everything about how Tatum is constructing his game is super-promising imo.
Yes. I'm not worried about Tatum at all. Even when he shot 2-16, he did contribute on defense, on the glass, and by getting to the line and hitting his free throws (9/10). He's taken an interesting developmental step this year, becoming a high-usage guy for the first time and being reasonably productive across all phases of the game despite a not too surprising decline in offensive efficiency.

I don't think one can predict that as he progresses he will become a high-efficency volume scorer, but there are a lot of ways he can progress as he contibues to develop.
 

lovegtm

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Yes. I'm not worried about Tatum at all. Even when he shot 2-16, he did contribute on defense, on the glass, and by getting to the line and hitting his free throws (9/10). He's taken an interesting developmental step this year, becoming a high-usage guy for the first time and being reasonably productive across all phases of the game despite a not too surprising decline in offensive efficiency.

I don't think one can predict that as he progresses he will become a high-efficency volume scorer, but there are a lot of ways he can progress as he contibues to develop.
I’m fine predicting he’ll be at least a good efficiency high-volume scorer: there aren’t any huge question marks in terms of the pieces he needs to add/polish.

As for improving all phases of his game: it’s impressive. This level of defensive performance isn’t normal for a 21-year old who carries this much offensive load. It’s really rare.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I’m fine predicting he’ll be at least a good efficiency high-volume scorer: there aren’t any huge question marks in terms of the pieces he needs to add/polish.

As for improving all phases of his game: it’s impressive. This level of defensive performance isn’t normal for a 21-year old who carries this much offensive load. It’s really rare.
I think that is certainly a reasonable prediction. My only point would be that NBA development isn't linear, and there are any number of paths that Tatum's development might follow that wouldnt be shocking. Maybe he stagnates at what he is now (which would still be a max player!), maybe he becomes efficient but gives up some usage, maybe he follows the ideal path and does become a high-efficiency volume scorer. As long as he can get himself to the line and hit threes that aren't off the catch (both things that seem to be in his toolbox), I think those things do put a put a pretty high floor underneath him as far as his future development goes.
 

lovegtm

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I think that is certainly a reasonable prediction. My only point would be that NBA development isn't linear, and there are any number of paths that Tatum's development might follow that wouldnt be shocking. Maybe he stagnates at what he is now (which would still be a max player!), maybe he becomes efficient but gives up some usage, maybe he follows the ideal path and does become a high-efficiency volume scorer. As long as he can get himself to the line and hit threes that aren't off the catch (both things that seem to be in his toolbox), I think those things do put a put a pretty high floor underneath him as far as his future development goes.
Yeah, reasonable minds can differ, but given his age, work ethic, intelligence, and physical projectability (he’ll be way stronger in 2-3 years), I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t improve significantly from now offensively, even though that improvement will probably be non-linear.
 

benhogan

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Yeah, reasonable minds can differ, but given his age, work ethic, intelligence, and physical projectability (he’ll be way stronger in 2-3 years), I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t improve significantly from now offensively, even though that improvement will probably be non-linear.
100% this. His offense will be excellent as he gains that size/exp. BUT it's his defense that has been the eye-opener this season. I really get interested in seeing him guard players like Trae Young on the perimeter, or seeing Markkanen get his open 3pt shot blocked last night. While the media can discuss Marcus Smart as DPOY, there is no way Smart makes that play or came close to slowing down Trae as JT did Friday night.
 

lovegtm

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100% this. His offense will be excellent as he gains that size/exp. BUT it's his defense that has been the eye-opener this season. I really get interested in seeing him guard players like Trae Young on the perimeter, or seeing Markkanen get his open 3pt shot blocked last night. While the media can discuss Marcus Smart as DPOY, there is no way Smart makes that play or came close to slowing down Trae as JT did Friday night.
I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Jayson Tatum is a better defensive player than Marcus Smart, both for team and on-ball, with the exception of Marcus’ freak ability to defend the post.

Smart is really good, Tatum just has insane physical defensive tools and the brain to use them.
 

NomarsFool

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Tatum's defense has been great. The blocks, steals, but also knocking passes away into the stands (which don't show up in any stat).
 

benhogan

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I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Jayson Tatum is a better defensive player than Marcus Smart, both for team and on-ball, with the exception of Marcus’ freak ability to defend the post.

Smart is really good, Tatum just has insane physical defensive tools and the brain to use them.
It's not crazy. I thought the +/- stuff was just noise earlier this season but its starting to add up. Also when Tatum was intercepting passes earlier this season I figured he was gambling in the matchup zone (which is clever) BUT he's doing much more than that. He's really exploiting his length/wingspan on the perimeter to challenge 3s while taking away penetration. As the game evolves into a 3pt shooting contest, this type of defense is incredibly valuable.
It's his defensive footwork/positioning/smarts that has been by far his biggest improvement this season IMO.
 
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Jimbodandy

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I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Jayson Tatum is a better defensive player than Marcus Smart, both for team and on-ball, with the exception of Marcus’ freak ability to defend the post.

Smart is really good, Tatum just has insane physical defensive tools and the brain to use them.
Yes. It's not obvious to everyone.

On ball, Marcus, Semi, and Jaylen will beat a guy to a spot due to either superior athleticism or insanely good defensive instincts. That's easy to observe. Watching Marcus and Jaylen bother Young, Lavine, and Dunn was a pleasure this weekend.

But Tatum doesn't HAVE TO beat smaller guys to the spot to seriously fuck up that guy's flow. He's like trying to get by a willow tree that came to life. And by not having to guess where that offensive player is going, he can stay home and be in position for anything. Having a guy that can credibly disrupt Trae and block Lauri is truly remarkable and puts him in a class of like 2-3 people on earth.
 

TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle

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Yes. It's not obvious to everyone.

On ball, Marcus, Semi, and Jaylen will beat a guy to a spot due to either superior athleticism or insanely good defensive instincts. That's easy to observe. Watching Marcus and Jaylen bother Young, Lavine, and Dunn was a pleasure this weekend.

But Tatum doesn't HAVE TO beat smaller guys to the spot to seriously fuck up that guy's flow. He's like trying to get by a willow tree that came to life. And by not having to guess where that offensive player is going, he can stay home and be in position for anything. Having a guy that can credibly disrupt Trae and block Lauri is truly remarkable and puts him in a class of like 2-3 people on earth.
He's a fucking ent. Treebeard Tatum.
 

amarshal2

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Less than 24 hours after this discussion and Tatum’s TS% is back to increasing every month this season.

.482
.520
.562
.565

(January numbers are insanely small sample and come with a drop in usage but still pointing out the issues with the discussion of tatums 2019 TS% in isolation.)

Here’s to .600 in January.

View: https://twitter.com/tom_nba/status/1213662574060986369?s=21
 
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Jimbodandy

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Less than 24 hours after this discussion and Tatum’s TS% is back to increasing every month this season.

.482
.520
.562
.565

(January numbers are insanely small sample and come with a drop in usage but still pointing out the issues with the discussion of tatums 2019 TS% in isolation.)
Last night's game was like when Mookie has one of those 5-5 games with 3 dingers after a month of meh.
 

lovegtm

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Less than 24 hours after this discussion and Tatum’s TS% is back to increasing every month this season.

.482
.520
.562
.565

(January numbers are insanely small sample and come with a drop in usage but still pointing out the issues with the discussion of tatums 2019 TS% in isolation.)

Here’s to .600 in January.

View: https://twitter.com/tom_nba/status/1213662574060986369?s=21
Honestly, this is just the normal growing pains of a guy adjusting his game to higher usage (and the fewer advantage situations that implies), except compressed into a short time. Usually this is (and might well still be) a 1-3 season process (look at the progression of guys like Booker or LaVine).
 

Jimbodandy

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Change month to day and I’m with you.
What I mean is that Mookie goes through stretches where his numbers aren't bad per se, but dip from the level we are accustomed to. Two weeks, three weeks, whatever. Then everyone looks around and wonders "what's up with Mookie"? Its only June 1 or whatever. Then he has a 6RBI/14TB game, and suddenly his numbers look pretty Mookie like.
 

amarshal2

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Great shot chart too. Wasn’t just a case of him hitting mid range shots. Three mid paint, one long 2, and the rest restricted area and threes.
 

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Great shot chart too. Wasn’t just a case of him hitting mid range shots. Three mid paint, one long 2, and the rest restricted area and threes.
It was the best game I've ever seen him play not just in terms of counting stats but in his assertiveness. He was the alpha player on the court today and he knew it. What was also remarkable was that, unlike in games past, he tended to opt for efficient shots when given a choice (e.g. restricted area versus deep midrange).

I know it was against the lowly Pelicans but this game showed what Tatum may be capable of when he irons out the kinks. It was awesome to watch and I encourage all Cs fans to watch highlights if they missed it. It was really special.
 

DJnVa

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Sometimes, as fans, we can't pick up on things:

For some time now, Tatum’s right elbow had been slightly flaring out on his jump shot, causing some inconsistency in the power behind his shot that had led to him shooting 3-for-20 from deep this decade. But after a workout with his longtime trainer Drew Hanlen this weekend, he has ironed out some quirks and put himself in the zone that led to his career night.
 

NomarsFool

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Tatum is not eligible to sign an extension until summer of 2021 right? Would sure be nice to get him locked up.
 

lovegtm

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Tatum is not eligible to sign an extension until summer of 2021 right? Would sure be nice to get him locked up.
Nope, he can do it this summer. It will very, very likely be one of those extensions that is announced on July 1st, and will be for 5 years at the max, no player option, maybe some incentive tweaking.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Nope, he can do it this summer. It will very, very likely be one of those extensions that is announced on July 1st, and will be for 5 years at the max, no player option, maybe some incentive tweaking.
Why no player option? Not allowed on this kind of extension? I think Tatum has more than enough leverage to get the option of the rules permit it.
 

lovegtm

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Why no player option? Not allowed on this kind of extension? I think Tatum has more than enough leverage to get the option of the rules permit it.
It's allowed. I used to think like you wrt leverage to get it, but that's not how it's played out recently. KAT had more leverage than anyone, but he signed a 5-year with no player option.

I think the reason for this dynamic is that the team can just wait until the next summer and be the only one who can offer that 5-year anyway, and so there's no reason for them to offer the extension unless the player makes the concession on the option.

Situations like Hayward's, where the team is unsure about paying the max in RFA and makes the guy go get an offer are more prone to options happening.
 

NomarsFool

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Isn't Tatum two years behind Brown? Did the Celtics just wait until last summer (technically October) for Brown because he was less of a sure thing?
 

lovegtm

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Isn't Tatum two years behind Brown? Did the Celtics just wait until last summer (technically October) for Brown because he was less of a sure thing?
Tatum is only one year behind.

The Celtics waited until the deadline with Brown because they didn't want to give him the max, and didn't. Tatum is definitely a better player imo, and I'm high on Brown.
 

Euclis20

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It's strange, coming into this season I think everyone would have agreed that Brown had the higher defensive ceiling and Tatum had the higher offensive ceiling, and vice versa. Now, Brown's offensive efficiency (flawed as it is to track that) is well ahead of Tatum's, and Tatum has become a monster team defender. I've been trying to figure out who he reminds me of on defense, and the name I keep coming back to is Shawn Marion. Long, not bulky, can match up credibly on everyone and is always in the passing lanes. He may never rack up the steals and blocks like Marion did, but he's got that same way of moving around the court on D.