Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

amarshal2

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Whenever I'm comparing Tatum the first guy in my head is always a poor man's KD. KD is taller and (currently a much) better shooter. Tatum is a bit more athletic with a bit better handle, but nether to the point that the mid range game isn't necessary to his success. He's also got the wiry frame, with the hope he'll fill out a bit more than KD. When KD turns on the defense during the playoffs he's suddenly this like suffocating blanket on the perimeter who nobody can get around or shoot over with all that length and above NBA average athleticism for the size. It's not a perfect comparison -- I actually think Tatum has more court awareness than KD and makes better reads as a team defender -- but in terms of man defense that's what Tatum does to his opponents. If Tatum's on you and you try and shoot over him or get around, it's going in at well below your career rate.
 

nighthob

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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.
Because Boston will likely offer him the Designated Rookie Extension on the grounds that he signs for the full five years. Most players take the money these days. If he can snag a 3rd Team All-NBA slot, he'll get full Designated Player Money (an immediate bump to 30% of the cap).
 

lovegtm

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Seems like Tatum has ditched that little floater and moved to short fadeaways in the lane. I like it—he needs something midrange long-term, and this leaves more opportunity to find passes or go up-and-under.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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amarshal2

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He missed time in the 4th quarter last game when the other three stars were still on the floor. I can't remember that ever happening, so I don't think this is entirely fake for a day off.
 

lovegtm

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benhogan

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Zach Lowe actually gave Jaylen his last reserve spot, over Tatum, interestingly enough. His argument was largely about efficiency, which I think misses a bit about how Tatum is more of a primary option for the offense, which Lowe mentions but doesn’t really account for:

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I expect Tatum will easily get an All-Star reserve spot and Brown will just miss.
I like Brown a lot and he'll develop into a top 25 NBA player by next season BUT Tatum (a top 25 player now) is a much better defensive player than Brown. Tatum also had better adv metrics last season.
JT has more upside since he's younger, less physically developed, and extremely well-coached.

Here are a bunch of 2019-20 metrics:

Tatum: 1.92 O-PIPM / 2.15 D-PIPM / 4.07 PIPM
Brown: .94 O-PIPM / -.48 D-PIPM / .47 PIPM

ON/OFF/Net
Tatum: 11.1/ -1.6/ +12.7
Brown: 5.7 / 9.1 / -3.4

NBA adv ratings:
Tatum: 112.9 / 101.8 / 11.1
Brown: 112.8 / 106.3 / 6.4

BPM/WS/VORP are pretty similar
 

Devizier

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I expect Tatum will easily get an All-Star reserve spot and Brown will just miss.
I like Brown a lot and he'll develop into a top 25 NBA player by next season BUT Tatum (a top 25 player now) is a much better defensive player than Brown.
Bears the eye-test. The guy is almost Durant-like in terms of his reach and agility. Brown just doesn't have the same physical tools, gifted as he is.
 

benhogan

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Jackie Mac is still the standard.
She is. Brad recently had a film session after the Phoenix game where he had players critique their defense. That's very much Pop-like.

Also loved this part about defense:

"EVERYBODY LOVES TO score. Racking up points means adoration from fans, coveted endorsements, anointment from sneaker companies. No wonder, then, true two-way players are elusive. It's taxing to guard the league's top players, and it can be a thankless job. Scoring is much more glamorous.

"Nobody cares about defense," Smart says. "Unfortunately, our game is all about entertainment. Nobody wants to see a low-scoring game. They want to see high-flying dunks, someone going off for 45 points. Nobody gets too excited about seeing a guy in a defensive position for 24 seconds actually stopping someone from scoring. That's not going to get you any commercials."

Yet Tatum says he has made a conscious effort to prioritize defense this season. And his coach has noticed. Tatum has all the tools to be an elite defender, says Brad Stevens, but a consistent effort on that end is the only way he will truly cement his status as a stopper. The fact that Popovich spent the summer hammering home that same message, Stevens believes, was a gift."
 

chilidawg

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She is. Brad recently had a film session after the Phoenix game where he had players critique their defense. That's very much Pop-like.

Also loved this part about defense:

"EVERYBODY LOVES TO score. Racking up points means adoration from fans, coveted endorsements, anointment from sneaker companies. No wonder, then, true two-way players are elusive. It's taxing to guard the league's top players, and it can be a thankless job. Scoring is much more glamorous.

"Nobody cares about defense," Smart says. "Unfortunately, our game is all about entertainment. Nobody wants to see a low-scoring game. They want to see high-flying dunks, someone going off for 45 points. Nobody gets too excited about seeing a guy in a defensive position for 24 seconds actually stopping someone from scoring. That's not going to get you any commercials."

Yet Tatum says he has made a conscious effort to prioritize defense this season. And his coach has noticed. Tatum has all the tools to be an elite defender, says Brad Stevens, but a consistent effort on that end is the only way he will truly cement his status as a stopper. The fact that Popovich spent the summer hammering home that same message, Stevens believes, was a gift."
I do Marcus, I do.
 

scottyno

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According to sources on twitter Tatum made the all star game as a reserve (Brown didn't), score one for analytics.
 

benhogan

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According to sources on twitter Tatum made the all star game as a reserve (Brown didn't), score one for analytics.
I hope it doesn't create friction between JB/JT.

Brown will get there next season when he starts playing better defense.
 

Lazy vs Crazy

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Danny finally drafted a second all star.
Nuts that Rondo has been the only one so far, and that technically Danny didn't draft him.
 

scottyno

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Danny finally drafted a second all star.
Nuts that Rondo has been the only one so far, and that technically Danny didn't draft him.
pretty amazing al jefferson never made an all star game, he had a lot of really good years, even made all nba 3rd team once
 

lovegtm

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Brown will get there next season when he starts playing better defense.
It's pretty awesome that Tatum made the ASG basically on the strength of coaches recognizing his defensive impact. His defensive leap this year has been ridiculous. Hopefully this motivates Jaylen to up his game on that end.
 

Imbricus

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Neat anecdote from his time playing on Team USA this past summer. I wonder if this motivated him on defense, Pop ribbing him:

"I wish I could be you!" boomed USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich, striding toward the young Boston Celtics forward in a film room in China. "Then I could stand in the corner with my 7-foot-long arms down by my side and not move while players go past me!"
 

lovegtm

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Neat anecdote from his time playing on Team USA this past summer. I wonder if this motivated him on defense, Pop ribbing him:
Sounds like it did motivate him, but it's really impressive how fast he turned that motivation into results.

Like, the dude went from being an ok-ish kind of defender to being the linchpin of the #4 defense and the type of guy you can build your scheme around. He shrinks the floor to a crazy degree.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Aside from his defensive emergence, the most incredible thing about Tatum this year is that, on offense, this is very obviously a "figuring things out" type of year for him - as evidenced by his big jump in USG, shots per game and per 36, and his career low in FG% from both 2- and 3-point range. And for all of that he's averaging 21.5 per game, career bests in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game and per 36, plus, as noted, the defense.
 

bakahump

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Right, Thats incredible to me. Not only has he made the Jump defensively, but he has is also learning on the fly how to be THE MAN and he is still our best number 2 option on offense.

How much improvement can we expect from 1 guy in 1 season. Screw increments. We want it all now.

In the same vein as the Truth, That should be his new Nickname "NOW".
 

DourDoerr

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I'll add that it looks like he's really putting on muscle. Not all the way there yet, but it seems he's doing the work.

BTW, love Pop's sarcasm. Reminds me of Parcells.
 
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benhogan

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from Nick Friar WEEI:

1. Walker is an All-NBA player, but Tatum could become an elite wing. Though Brown has been more efficient than Tatum, and they’re both averaging right around 20 points per game — as is Walker. Both young guys are better defenders than Walker, but Brown is superior, even though Tatum is much-improved.

2. Sort of like what Washington’s Bradley Beal did when he said “It’s disrespectful” he didn’t get in, even though the Wizards are 16-31



1. Not only is Tatum much-improved, but he's also a significantly better defender than Jaylen. Has this writer watched Celtic games? or spent 5 minutes looking at any analytic efficiency numbers?

2. Beal doesn't help his case by mailing it on defense on a nightly basis, which has steadily worsened every year in the NBA.

I'm thrilled that NBA coaches are looking closer at defense/winning (Gobert/Lowry instead of KAT/Booker/Beal) to determine who gets named an All-Star.
 

lovegtm

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from Nick Friar WEEI:

1. Walker is an All-NBA player, but Tatum could become an elite wing. Though Brown has been more efficient than Tatum, and they’re both averaging right around 20 points per game — as is Walker. Both young guys are better defenders than Walker, but Brown is superior, even though Tatum is much-improved.

2. Sort of like what Washington’s Bradley Beal did when he said “It’s disrespectful” he didn’t get in, even though the Wizards are 16-31



1. Not only is Tatum much-improved, but he's also a significantly better defender than Jaylen. Has this writer watched Celtic games? or spent 5 minutes looking at any analytic efficiency numbers?

2. Beal doesn't help his case by mailing it on defense on a nightly basis, which has steadily worsened every year in the NBA.

I'm thrilled that NBA coaches are looking closer at defense/winning (Gobert/Lowry instead of KAT/Booker/Beal) to determine who gets named an All-Star.
I'm glad NBA coaches (who absolutely know which guys are hard for them to game-plan for) are voting their real preferences now.

The preference for Brown over Tatum (defensively) is a good litmus test for the sophistication of the viewer. They're both close-ish on-ball, which is what people are comparing, but Tatum is in another stratosphere off-ball, which is where a ton of defense happens in the modern era. "Great help defender" isn't a back-handed compliment: shutting down the weak-side with one guy takes away a lot of what makes modern offenses run. The Celtics have a better d-rating with Tatum on the floor than the Jazz do with Gobert, and he shares a lot those minutes with Enes Kanter and Kemba Walker.

(Side note: I was surprised when Lowe wanted Brown over Tatum because of defensive performance, but I think that's just indicative of Lowe's mailing it in more and more over the last 1-2 years. He hasn't engaged in real video analysis in awhile and mostly does human-interest type stuff now.)

The leap Tatum made this year defensively is comparable in magnitude to the leap Luka made offensively (with a similar impact on winning), and isn't recognized because people need defense to be on-ball stuff like blocks, steals, and forcing your guy to pass. Good for Jackie M for getting into its roots it in her feature and interviews.
 

benhogan

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I'm glad NBA coaches (who absolutely know which guys are hard for them to game-plan for) are voting their real preferences now.

The preference for Brown over Tatum (defensively) is a good litmus test for the sophistication of the viewer. They're both close-ish on-ball, which is what people are comparing, but Tatum is in another stratosphere off-ball, which is where a ton of defense happens in the modern era. "Great help defender" isn't a back-handed compliment: shutting down the weak-side with one guy takes away a lot of what makes modern offenses run. The Celtics have a better d-rating with Tatum on the floor than the Jazz do with Gobert, and he shares a lot those minutes with Enes Kanter and Kemba Walker.

(Side note: I was surprised when Lowe wanted Brown over Tatum because of defensive performance, but I think that's just indicative of Lowe's mailing it in more and more over the last 1-2 years. He hasn't engaged in real video analysis in awhile and mostly does human-interest type stuff now.)

The leap Tatum made this year defensively is comparable in magnitude to the leap Luka made offensively (with a similar impact on winning), and isn't recognized because people need defense to be on-ball stuff like blocks, steals, and forcing your guy to pass. Good for Jackie M for getting into its roots it in her feature and interviews.
Good points on Tatum's off-the-ball defense, it's rarely highlighted (same with off-the-ball offense) in regards to why a team is successful (just watch a Raptors game, they do a good job on both ends). 1 ball - 9 other players doing something, seems obvious.

Yea, Jackie Mac deserves a lot of credit for her nuanced style compared to her media colleagues. Not only does she find the genesis of Tatum's defensive improvement (Pop/USA basketball) but she then cements it with Smart explaining why its hard to convince the modern player to engage in it. So much NBA media is ex-Stars & gossip columnists, white bread. Jackie is the gold standard.
 
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Jimbodandy

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To my eyes, Brown's on ball defense is still better than Tatum's. That's likely why the lazy analyst still ranks Brown higher. On ball defense is easy to see. And in the playoffs, the ability to stay in front of scoring wings is impactful especially. But Tatum's off ball and help defense is so far superior that it's silly, and it's shameful that someone who gets paid to talk about hoop doesn't know that.
 

RorschachsMask

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I think Jaylens man defense is slightly better still, but it's close. Early in the year Jaylen and Smart would always defend the best perimeter guy on other teams, but they've been using Tatum more and more lately. He spent the most time on Ingram a few weeks ago, and they've used him on both Morant and Russell recently.

He's become fantastic at using his length to keep guys from beating him to the rim, Tayshaun Prince like. And you guys have summed up his team defense, it's the elite of the elite.

Jaylen on the other hand has done an awesome job defending big men down on the post, but he tends to get lost when chasing guys around the perimeter.
 

lovegtm

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To my eyes, Brown's on ball defense is still better than Tatum's. That's likely why the lazy analyst still ranks Brown higher. On ball defense is easy to see. And in the playoffs, the ability to stay in front of scoring wings is impactful especially. But Tatum's off ball and help defense is so far superior that it's silly, and it's shameful that someone who gets paid to talk about hoop doesn't know that.
In addition to the laziness of only watching the ball, I think a lot of analysis comes from a time when on-ball defense mattered a LOT more (under the old illegal defense rules). Now it's more about holding serve on-ball so that you don't get targeted, while snuffing out off-ball stuff.
 

Jimbodandy

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In addition to the laziness of only watching the ball, I think a lot of analysis comes from a time when on-ball defense mattered a LOT more (under the old illegal defense rules). Now it's more about holding serve on-ball so that you don't get targeted, while snuffing out off-ball stuff.
That'a a good point, but I think that on ball still matters. The best smalls and wings can pretty much always create an advantage eventually within a possession, but making it harder on them helps. The more time that they burn trying to get into the lane or get you on their hip, the later in the shot clock that the big or other help has before he has to commit. That's less time in rotation, running guys off threes, fewer late ball swings. Instead of four contests, maybe it's only two before they have to pull the trigger on a worse look than they wanted. It doesn't matter as much as it used to, but it still does.

That said, Tatum's out there blocking shots and jumping lanes, and the lazy writer doesn't see how he materially affects the defensive posture while he's on the floor. The kid seems to improve week by week. Even in his 2 for 14 games, he's routinely leading the team in +/-.
 

JakeRae

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Tatum is showing signs of figuring out how to carry his increased offensive load efficiently. He’s been shooting well enough recently to pull his overall efficiency numbers up to where he was last year. Of note, this is despite a 6% increase in usage and a shift in his threes from 85% assisted to 60% assisted. One would expect a significant reduction in efficiency after those changes, so treading water on shooting percentages is actually a sign of substantial improvement.

Over the last ten or so games Tatum has been looking like he might be coming into his own as an elite offensive player as he settles into his expanded role. It’s too early to say if this is a hot streak or establishing a new baseline, but if it’s the latter, we might need to stop asking the “can you win without elite talent but with 4 very good players?” question.
 

lovegtm

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Over the last ten or so games Tatum has been looking like he might be coming into his own as an elite offensive player as he settles into his expanded role. It’s too early to say if this is a hot streak or establishing a new baseline, but if it’s the latter, we might need to stop asking the “can you win without elite talent but with 4 very good players?” question.
Re the bolded: there are a few components to this, and the eye test helps with some and not with others.

1. Finishing at the rim: he's very obviously improved here since the start of the season when you watch games. There are still some bad misses, but he's much more under control and generating better layup looks as opposed to early, when he was totally out of control.

2. 3-point: can't really say whether this is hotness or not, but fwiw the stepback/pullup 3 part of his game has been the most consistent this year.

3. Mid-range: seems to be shooting better from here, not sure whether it's a good run. Eye test is that he's excised that crappy floater and the longer 2s, and now gets into a on-balance fadeaway from 15 feet or so more often.

Overall I'm pretty confident that ~55-56% TS Tatum is a new baseline, which is strong when combined with his high usage, low turnovers, and exceptional team defense.

I'm expecting another big leap after this summer when he has time to get stronger, work on drawing contact, and integrating the threat of his stepback with the option to drive (I'd be shocked if this doesn't become his offensive staple in the next 1-3 years.)
 

Mooch

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One thing that I've noticed as the season goes along is that his ball-handling has improved dramatically. He's not getting stripped as often with sloppy dribbling as he's working his one-on-one offense both in terms of driving to the rim as well as out on the perimeter trying to shake defenders. His TO rate tells a story:

November/December: 2.4 TO/G
January/February: 1.6 TO/G
 

Jimbodandy

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Re the bolded: there are a few components to this, and the eye test helps with some and not with others.

1. Finishing at the rim: he's very obviously improved here since the start of the season when you watch games. There are still some bad misses, but he's much more under control and generating better layup looks as opposed to early, when he was totally out of control.

2. 3-point: can't really say whether this is hotness or not, but fwiw the stepback/pullup 3 part of his game has been the most consistent this year.

3. Mid-range: seems to be shooting better from here, not sure whether it's a good run. Eye test is that he's excised that crappy floater and the longer 2s, and now gets into a on-balance fadeaway from 15 feet or so more often.

Overall I'm pretty confident that ~55-56% TS Tatum is a new baseline, which is strong when combined with his high usage, low turnovers, and exceptional team defense.

I'm expecting another big leap after this summer when he has time to get stronger, work on drawing contact, and integrating the threat of his stepback with the option to drive (I'd be shocked if this doesn't become his offensive staple in the next 1-3 years.)
Two excellent posts.

He is pushing elite player status as is, and he still has tweaks that he can make. He can add a little more GH stuff to his game still, getting to the rim. The unblockable stepback three is a nuclear weapon.
 

JakeRae

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Re the bolded: there are a few components to this, and the eye test helps with some and not with others.

1. Finishing at the rim: he's very obviously improved here since the start of the season when you watch games. There are still some bad misses, but he's much more under control and generating better layup looks as opposed to early, when he was totally out of control.

2. 3-point: can't really say whether this is hotness or not, but fwiw the stepback/pullup 3 part of his game has been the most consistent this year.

3. Mid-range: seems to be shooting better from here, not sure whether it's a good run. Eye test is that he's excised that crappy floater and the longer 2s, and now gets into a on-balance fadeaway from 15 feet or so more often.

Overall I'm pretty confident that ~55-56% TS Tatum is a new baseline, which is strong when combined with his high usage, low turnovers, and exceptional team defense.

I'm expecting another big leap after this summer when he has time to get stronger, work on drawing contact, and integrating the threat of his stepback with the option to drive (I'd be shocked if this doesn't become his offensive staple in the next 1-3 years.)
When I mentioned a new baseline, I was actually thinking higher than 55-56% for TS%. Over his last ten games, Tatum has been at .612, over his last 20 at .577. His overall average of .546 is weighed down heavily by the fact that he was at .512 through his first 20 games as he was adjusting to his new role.
 

lovegtm

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When I mentioned a new baseline, I was actually thinking higher than 55-56% for TS%. Over his last ten games, Tatum has been at .612, over his last 20 at .577. His overall average of .546 is weighed down heavily by the fact that he was at .512 through his first 20 games as he was adjusting to his new role.
Yeah, I’m being conservative and waiting for the summer for the next offensive leap. I probably shot a bit too low on the current real TS though.
 

BaseballJones

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So in another thread someone mentioned a possible Miami-Boston playoff matchup and said that the Heat would have the best player on the floor (meaning Jimmy Butler). Given Tatum's growth, why would we think that Butler is better than Tatum at this point?

FG%
Butler: 45.2%
Tatum: 43.7%

3ptFG%
Butler: 25.5%
Tatum: 37.5%

eFG%
Butler: 47.6%
Tatum: 50.5%

FT%
Butler: 83.7%
Tatum: 84.2%

Rebounds
Butler: 6.8
Tatum: 6.8

Assists
Butler: 6.3
Tatum: 2.9

Steals
Butler: 1.8
Tatum: 1.4

Blocks
Butler: 0.5
Tatum: 0.8

Turnovers
Butler: 2.3
Tatum: 2.1

ORating
Butler: 124
Tatum: 109

DRating
Butler: 107
Tatum: 104

Can't just as much an argument be made that Tatum is better right now than Butler is?
 

lovegtm

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So in another thread someone mentioned a possible Miami-Boston playoff matchup and said that the Heat would have the best player on the floor (meaning Jimmy Butler). Given Tatum's growth, why would we think that Butler is better than Tatum at this point?

FG%
Butler: 45.2%
Tatum: 43.7%

3ptFG%
Butler: 25.5%
Tatum: 37.5%

eFG%
Butler: 47.6%
Tatum: 50.5%

FT%
Butler: 83.7%
Tatum: 84.2%

Rebounds
Butler: 6.8
Tatum: 6.8

Assists
Butler: 6.3
Tatum: 2.9

Steals
Butler: 1.8
Tatum: 1.4

Blocks
Butler: 0.5
Tatum: 0.8

Turnovers
Butler: 2.3
Tatum: 2.1

ORating
Butler: 124
Tatum: 109

DRating
Butler: 107
Tatum: 104

Can't just as much an argument be made that Tatum is better right now than Butler is?
Not sure where you’re getting the numbers from, but their net ratings are different in a way that favors Tatum.

I don’t think it’s crazy to think he’s as good as Butler right now; probably comes down to how much you believe in Tatum’s D and obscene impact stats (Butler’s are really good too. )
 

chilidawg

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So in another thread someone mentioned a possible Miami-Boston playoff matchup and said that the Heat would have the best player on the floor (meaning Jimmy Butler). Given Tatum's growth, why would we think that Butler is better than Tatum at this point?

FG%
Butler: 45.2%
Tatum: 43.7%

3ptFG%
Butler: 25.5%
Tatum: 37.5%

eFG%
Butler: 47.6%
Tatum: 50.5%

FT%
Butler: 83.7%
Tatum: 84.2%

Rebounds
Butler: 6.8
Tatum: 6.8

Assists
Butler: 6.3
Tatum: 2.9

Steals
Butler: 1.8
Tatum: 1.4

Blocks
Butler: 0.5
Tatum: 0.8

Turnovers
Butler: 2.3
Tatum: 2.1

ORating
Butler: 124
Tatum: 109

DRating
Butler: 107
Tatum: 104

Can't just as much an argument be made that Tatum is better right now than Butler is?
Big edge in playmaking to Butler, but it's close.
 

benhogan

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So in another thread someone mentioned a possible Miami-Boston playoff matchup and said that the Heat would have the best player on the floor (meaning Jimmy Butler). Given Tatum's growth, why would we think that Butler is better than Tatum at this point?

FG%
Butler: 45.2%
Tatum: 43.7%

3ptFG%
Butler: 25.5%
Tatum: 37.5%

eFG%
Butler: 47.6%
Tatum: 50.5%

FT%
Butler: 83.7%
Tatum: 84.2%

Rebounds
Butler: 6.8
Tatum: 6.8

Assists
Butler: 6.3
Tatum: 2.9

Steals
Butler: 1.8
Tatum: 1.4

Blocks
Butler: 0.5
Tatum: 0.8

Turnovers
Butler: 2.3
Tatum: 2.1

ORating
Butler: 124
Tatum: 109

DRating
Butler: 107
Tatum: 104

Can't just as much an argument be made that Tatum is better right now than Butler is?
Butler is at his ultimate peak and will be heading lower over the next few seasons

Tatum is still leaping and will continue to improve as this season moves along
 

BaseballJones

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7,602
Not sure where you’re getting the numbers from, but their net ratings are different in a way that favors Tatum.

I don’t think it’s crazy to think he’s as good as Butler right now; probably comes down to how much you believe in Tatum’s D and obscene impact stats (Butler’s are really good too. )
The numbers were from basketball-reference.com.