Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

lovegtm

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To pile on - his assist numbers have also been steadily increasing. He’s just shy of averaging 3 for the season and over the last handful of games he’s around 4. I think way back earlier in this thread we discussed how important it would be to get him from 2 to 3. Well, he’s doing it. And it’s mostly due to actually trying to find open teammates instead of just dumping it off when his lane is shut down.
I was gonna post comparisons to lots of other age-21 wings, but honestly? Just enjoy the leap.
 

the moops

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The PG coparison is fun to look at. Even being generous and using Paul George's age 22 season (to compare 3rd year in the league #s), Tatum is far outperforming PG. Better shooter from 2PT, 3PT and FT. Similar rebounds, steals, assists, blocks.
 

benhogan

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Here's all defensive plays he impacted against OKC. On-ball they targeted him with CP3, but no one else. Off-ball is spectacular, and by the 4th there aren't many clips to show, because OKC just stops involving the weakside on actions when he's there.

Rebounding is an area where I didn't expect to be impressed but was. He successfully out-rebounds Adams multiple times, and gets back to help Theis on others. Those aren't Westbrook triple-double boards; they're real value-adds.

View: https://youtu.be/4rDimZ7kUfo
excellent stuff

Tatum's defensive foot movement, positioning and anticipation are worlds better than JB. I don't want to go bad on Brown, but it's glaring. It's not an effort thing either, it's a skill.

I'm glad the JB comps with Tatum died around here from earlier this season.
IMO JB's upside is still top a 10 player. Tatum's upside is best player in 2-3 seasons
 

lovegtm

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So @benhogan , I went back and watched Tatum last year, especially in the playoffs. Not making a video of it since there is plenty of footage on Youtube of team defensive highlights and other highlights from the Pacers and Bucks games.

Observations:
1. Jackie Mac's narrative of Pop's transforming Tatum is cute, but inaccurate. Tatum was correctly positioning himself and doing all the stuff he does well now back at the end of last season. The difference now is that he's just 10% better at everything. This is a Tatum+Celtics thing, not a Pop thing. (I guess that should make us feel good, since it implies good things about the environment and his future progression?)

2. The defensive/physical talent on last year's team really pops. I will never forgive Mr. Chemistry for mentally checking out, for reasons unknown, after Game 1 of the Bucks. That team, 49-33 and all, was way better than they finished and deserved a better final series.

3. Gordon has another level he can hit defensively in terms of mental focus. They really need him to fully engage by April.
 

benhogan

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So @benhogan , I went back and watched Tatum last year, especially in the playoffs. Not making a video of it since there is plenty of footage on Youtube of team defensive highlights and other highlights from the Pacers and Bucks games.

Observations:
1. Jackie Mac's narrative of Pop's transforming Tatum is cute, but inaccurate. Tatum was correctly positioning himself and doing all the stuff he does well now back at the end of last season. The difference now is that he's just 10% better at everything. This is a Tatum+Celtics thing, not a Pop thing. (I guess that should make us feel good, since it implies good things about the environment and his future progression?)

2. The defensive/physical talent on last year's team really pops. I will never forgive Mr. Chemistry for mentally checking out, for reasons unknown, after Game 1 of the Bucks. That team, 49-33 and all, was way better than they finished and deserved a better final series.

3. Gordon has another level he can hit defensively in terms of mental focus. They really need him to fully engage by April.
Thanks!

1. That's funny about Jackie Mac (and clever on her part).
2. Every game this year is erasing the nightmare that was last season
3. Do you think he can just turn it on in the playoffs?
 

lovegtm

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Thanks!

1. That's funny about Jackie Mac (and clever on her part).
2. Every game this year is erasing the nightmare that was last season
3. Do you think he can just turn it on in the playoffs?
Re 3: I know I’m supposed to be the Gordon-hater now, but there’s evidence he will. He looked way more engaged in the playoffs last year, so I’m fine going with the “he’s pacing himself” theory for now.

Mr. Chemistry gave “just turn it on in the playoffs” a bad name. Most good players and teams do it to some degree. I’m expecting the Sixers, for example, to surprise some people, and for Toronto and Miami to be closer to their ceilings in the regular season.
 

benhogan

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Re 3: I know I’m supposed to be the Gordon-hater now, but there’s evidence he will. He looked way more engaged in the playoffs last year, so I’m fine going with the “he’s pacing himself” theory for now.

Mr. Chemistry gave “just turn it on in the playoffs” a bad name. Most good players and teams do it to some degree. I’m expecting the Sixers, for example, to surprise some people, and for Toronto and Miami to be closer to their ceilings in the regular season.
Ha, not at all, you're just calling it the way you see it. GH was being a bit goofy weakside vs OKC.

You're probably right that its a pace/age/regular season thing

Keep on bringing the defense-first heat. Enjoyed the Milwaukee vid
 

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This is a pretty exciting article. And a lot of what many posters here, especially lovegtm, have been pointing out.

View: https://twitter.com/MichaelVPina/status/1227304647481872384?s=20

But Tatum’s most significant stride comes in the form of his pull-up three, a skewering harpoon every elite scorer should be able to pull out of thweir bag whenever they want. Among all players who launch at least four pull-up threes per game, only Damian Lillard is more accurate than Tatum’s 39.2 percent this season. It’s a game-changing stresser that, by itself, raises Boston’s collective ceiling.
Among all players (54, to be exact) who finish at least five possessions every game as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, Tatum is the ninth-most efficient scorer and ranks in the 86th percentile overall. He glides downhill at his own pace, crouching down to put his defender in jail, waiting to punch through a crack. Tatum averages more points per possession in these spots than James Harden, LeBron James, Devin Booker, and Paul George. (Everyone above him is a true point guard, except Luka Doncic and DeMar DeRozan.)
 
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Jimbodandy

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There was some misplaced consternation in this very forum about JT weeks ago.

Dude is a beast. He made more good decisions defensively in that video than the Sacramento Kings have in their history.

His offense has officially clicked into place. Next adjustment is how well he handles being the target in a 7-game series with extra doubles and traps and such. He should hold up fine, but that's another notch for him.

Someday we will look back and laugh at Tatum having ever been on the trade table.
 

InstaFace

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The PG coparison is fun to look at. Even being generous and using Paul George's age 22 season (to compare 3rd year in the league #s), Tatum is far outperforming PG. Better shooter from 2PT, 3PT and FT. Similar rebounds, steals, assists, blocks.
What do @bowiac 's career-tracking graphs say?
 

HowBoutDemSox

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3rd team All NBA? Are there 6 better forwards?
I'd imagine Lebron, Davis (assuming he's a forward, not a center, for All NBA purposes), Giannis and Kawhi would be the first two teams in some order. Then Tatum is competing with Siakim, Butler, Bam, Simmons and Sabonis (or is he a center?) for the last two spots. I wouldn't be surprised if it's him and Siakim, if he keeps playing like he has been, though SImmons has a good shot too. Will depend on who plays well, who's healthy, and whose team makes a run down the stretch.
 

amarshal2

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If it wasn’t amazing enough to see him so efficient going to the hoop and getting to the line against that guy and that team, his defense on Kawhi late in the game was also stellar.

edited a bit
 

lovegtm

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Didn't see this until now, but here you go:

View attachment 28519


He's roughly caught where George was after 200 games, which is around the start of the 2013-2014 season for George (age 23). Tatum is roughly 2 years ahead of the curve in other words. Looks like he's finally out of the Kobe dip.
Yeah, I checked that graph on your site a few days ago (props by the way, I check it a lot for such things; for those who check Bowiac's link, it's the Multiple Player Comparisons link at the top).

When I saw it, I was like, OK, sounds about right. I totally forgot that Tatum is two years younger (which is extremely meaningful at age 21).
 

lovegtm

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Just watched the full game--dear lord. I can't remember the last time I saw an in-season leap like this, as opposed to over the summer.

If you didn't know who Kawhi was, and you just watched that game, you'd think Tatum was the better 2-way player. It's not just hot shooting: that would hold even if he had shot 2-10 from 3, instead of 5-10. Good grief.
 

the moops

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I'd imagine Lebron, Davis (assuming he's a forward, not a center, for All NBA purposes), Giannis and Kawhi would be the first two teams in some order. Then Tatum is competing with Siakim, Butler, Bam, Simmons and Sabonis (or is he a center?) for the last two spots. I wouldn't be surprised if it's him and Siakim, if he keeps playing like he has been, though SImmons has a good shot too. Will depend on who plays well, who's healthy, and whose team makes a run down the stretch.
I think for All NBA Simmons would be a Guard, and both Bam and Sabonis would be Centers (and also think neither one of them make an all NBA team this year).

A way too early guess

Harden, Luka, Giannis, Lebron, AD

Dame, Trae, Butler, Kawhi, Jokic

Kemba, Simmons, Siakam, Tatum, Embiid

Tried to find a space for Chris Paul, Ingram, and Gobert but just can't
 

CreightonGubanich

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It's hard to remember a game like this, where a conversation that had been building for weeks about a player suddenly became the new accepted reality. That was an unbelievable two-way game from Tatum. Everything was on display - the defense, both one-on-one against Kawhi and as a help defender, the finishing at the rim, the stepback three. Even his few midrange attempts were of the Paul Pierce rather than the Carmelo/Kobe variety.

The path to title contention for the Celtics was always for Jayson Tatum to become a top ten player. He's not there yet, but with the year he's having, it doesn't feel like such a pipe dream.
 

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As Winston Wolf said.....that 3 at the end of Regulation was a bad decision.

Sorry not a great day. I only found a $50 on my way to work today.
 

lovegtm

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I think for All NBA Simmons would be a Guard, and both Bam and Sabonis would be Centers (and also think neither one of them make an all NBA team this year).

A way too early guess

Harden, Luka, Giannis, Lebron, AD

Dame, Trae, Butler, Kawhi, Jokic

Kemba, Simmons, Siakam, Tatum, Embiid

Tried to find a space for Chris Paul, Ingram, and Gobert but just can't
If Trae is 2nd team and Chris Paul isn’t there, we should just stop pretending that defense matters at all.
 

TripleOT

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Tatum is on a Kevin Durant career tract, with a bit less scoring (and scoring attempts) and more defense. KD scored more in his third year, at 30 ppg to lead the league, mostly he got to the line almost six more times per game than JT, and played 5 1/2 minutes more per game, but all the other numbers are similar.

KD 30.1/7.6/2.8 on 47/6/36.5/90% and .514 eFG%
JT 22.4/6.9/2.9 on 44.3/38.3/81% and .515 eFG%

Tatum's great February splits really mirror KD's third year numbers, even with the six less minutes per game. If the February production is just a hot streak, or a leap where this is the standard Tatum the rest of the season, we shall see. JT is averaging 7 FTs a game in the month, a big jump from the 4 FTs per game he averaged previously this season. He's taking the ball to the rim with a lot more confidence, force, and smarts. He's also drawing a lot of fouls on his long armed sweep through motion in his forays to the basket. The Celtics share the ball too much for him to he a 10 FTs pg guy, but I could see him in the 8 range soon.
 

RetractableRoof

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If Trae is 2nd team and Chris Paul isn’t there, we should just stop pretending that defense matters at all.
I agree with this, Young is electric with the ball and on offense, but elevating him above players that have a lot more of a complete game seems wrong.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The cool thing to me is that, in a game like this, Tatum was clearly one of the two best players on the court. Furthermore, if someone made a case to me that, for parts of the game at least, Tatum was the better of the two, I would consider it.

Tatum's D has been excellent all season but after an inconsistent start, he appears to have made a leap right after the 16-22, 41 point night versus the Pels over a month ago. He has been a lot more consistent since then.

Finally, not to put too much stock in one game but I wonder if playing like Tatum did against the Clippers/Kawhi on a big stage fuels him even more. Only a handful of players ever get to that rarefied air and Tatum was there for a bit. He now knows he has that gear. Watching a milestone in a players development is one of the coolest parts of sports fandom for me and it really feels like that game fits the bill.

Of course, none of this precludes Tatum from having a bad game or two. But now we absolutely know he is capable of taking over and going toe to toe with the best.
 

Jimbodandy

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The cool thing to me is that, in a game like this, Tatum was clearly one of the two best players on the court. Furthermore, if someone made a case to me that, for parts of the game at least, Tatum was the better of the two, I would consider it.

Tatum's D has been excellent all season but after an inconsistent start, he appears to have made a leap right after the 16-22, 41 point night versus the Pels over a month ago. He has been a lot more consistent since then.

Finally, not to put too much stock in one game but I wonder if playing like Tatum did against the Clippers/Kawhi on a big stage fuels him even more. Only a handful of players ever get to that rarefied air and Tatum was there for a bit. He now knows he has that gear. Watching a milestone in a players development is one of the coolest parts of sports fandom for me and it really feels like that game fits the bill.

Of course, none of this precludes Tatum from having a bad game or two. But now we absolutely know he is capable of taking over and going toe to toe with the best.
It was fascinating for all of the reasons that you mention. We're watching him grow up and turn into something special.

Fwiw, what I was most impressed about was his confidence and finishing at the rim. The stepback three separates him from the pack of course, if he's banging it. But sometimes you need to eliminate that make or miss variable and just give the rock to your horse to carry home. He was doing that against the best last night and making smart decisions in the process, like Kemba said. It wasn't a Halley's Comet, everything went right, scenario. He just executed. Outside, inside, great defense, etc. Milestone game is a good choice of words.
 

Van Everyman

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Finally, not to put too much stock in one game but I wonder if playing like Tatum did against the Clippers/Kawhi on a big stage fuels him even more. Only a handful of players ever get to that rarefied air and Tatum was there for a bit. He now knows he has that gear. Watching a milestone in a players development is one of the coolest parts of sports fandom for me and it really feels like that game fits the bill.
Last night sort of felt like the natural followup to Game 7 of the ECF two years ago to me where he posterized Lebron and the torch felt like it might be passed. It took another season-plus, but there's some evidence he may be getting there.
 

lovegtm

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Finally, not to put too much stock in one game but I wonder if playing like Tatum did against the Clippers/Kawhi on a big stage fuels him even more. Only a handful of players ever get to that rarefied air and Tatum was there for a bit. He now knows he has that gear. Watching a milestone in a players development is one of the coolest parts of sports fandom for me and it really feels like that game fits the bill.
...
I definitely buy this in Tatum's case specifically. He seems to really care a LOT about league narratives, awards like the All-Star game, and living up to the greats he grew up with like Kawhi and Kobe.

The cool thing is that this doesn't seem to drive him to be selfish: he just really, really cares a lot about being a great 2-way player and being recognized as such.
 

RetractableRoof

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It's fun watching the leap. As others have said, that extra gear, taste of the rarefied air came in a game against one of the best. My only complaint was the Paul Pierce iso run the clock down stuff. I don't want to watch ANY player do that regularly. I also think that weakens the cohesiveness of the offense because others get stagnant if that happens too much.

Usually, we would see concentrated double teams by now for any player who is making this kind of impact. I see a lot of help, I see rotations, but I don't see a concentration of double teams. Should we expect it as we head towards the playoffs? Do we think his passing and vision will be able to punish the technique? I can see teams turning it on and off as a rhythm breaker. Just curious what others think... including if there has been more double teaming than I've noticed.
 

bakahump

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Finally, not to put too much stock in one game but I wonder if playing like Tatum did against the Clippers/Kawhi on a big stage fuels him even more. Only a handful of players ever get to that rarefied air and Tatum was there for a bit. He now knows he has that gear. Watching a milestone in a players development is one of the coolest parts of sports fandom for me and it really feels like that game fits the bill.
Felt the same. And maybe its the green tinted glasses but i also wondered would a game like this help him get those 1-2 fouls a game that seemingly he (and inexplicably none of the Celts....Kemba included) never gets.

The BB world had to sit up and notice last night. If he follows it up with a strong AS game then .....here...we...go.
 

RetractableRoof

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The BB world had to sit up and notice last night. If he follows it up with a strong AS game then .....here...we...go.
That's a real good point, I'm betting most of the league watched that game last night - it was the last one before the break. Players/coaches looking at the play of Tatum (especially defensively on Leonard) will kind of nod to themselves that he's the real deal at this point - if they hadn't already.
 

lovegtm

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It's fun watching the leap. As others have said, that extra gear, taste of the rarefied air came in a game against one of the best. My only complaint was the Paul Pierce iso run the clock down stuff. I don't want to watch ANY player do that regularly. I also think that weakens the cohesiveness of the offense because others get stagnant if that happens too much.

Usually, we would see concentrated double teams by now for any player who is making this kind of impact. I see a lot of help, I see rotations, but I don't see a concentration of double teams. Should we expect it as we head towards the playoffs? Do we think his passing and vision will be able to punish the technique? I can see teams turning it on and off as a rhythm breaker. Just curious what others think... including if there has been more double teaming than I've noticed.
Lot of stuff here.

Re the iso-run-down-the-clock stuff: that happens in 3 basic situations. 2 are good, 1 is bad.
1. Tatum gets passed a grenade with 7 seconds or less on the shot clock, with the defense fairly set. An iso 3 from Tatum is one of the better shots you can generate in that situation.
2. Taking the last shot of the quarter--I wish they'd iso him here more, not less. His stepback 3 is a high-value shot in that situation, especially since it's the best shot the Celtics have that you can guarantee you get off at the end of the clock, rather than too soon. (By not running off the clock under a few seconds you leave the other team with 0.5-1 points of expected value).
3. A static iso early in the clock. This is meh, and I'd prefer at least some screening action to get a rhythm pullup 3.

I think we'll see more double-teams, at least as a change of pace. However, if that gets Kemba/Jaylen/GH the ball in space, the Celtics will be ecstatic about the outcome. There's a reason teams have been reluctant to do it: you're basically giving the Celtics the exact thing their offense is trying to manufacture: dynamic playmakers in space against a scrambling defense.
 

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Danny's pick of Tatum over Fultz single-handedly makes up for all of the "missed" picks he's had in his entire tenure.

Edit: RedOctober beat me to it!
 

lovegtm

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If it turns out like we think, the Ainge trade for Tatum will be right up there with the KG trade as the best move he's ever made.
And trading Tatum for AD may end up right up there with the Justise Winslow trade as the worst move another team/set of circumstances wouldn't allow him to make.
 

lovegtm

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Do we know for sure that Tatum was ever available for AD?
We never know anything for sure. Lowe reported that the Celtics told the Pelicans Tatum would be on the table after the season. There was never a way to actually offer him until the season ended, at which point Kyrie was gone and it wasn't happening.
 

RetractableRoof

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Lot of stuff here.

Re the iso-run-down-the-clock stuff: that happens in 3 basic situations. 2 are good, 1 is bad.
1. Tatum gets passed a grenade with 7 seconds or less on the shot clock, with the defense fairly set. An iso 3 from Tatum is one of the better shots you can generate in that situation.
2. Taking the last shot of the quarter--I wish they'd iso him here more, not less. His stepback 3 is a high-value shot in that situation, especially since it's the best shot the Celtics have that you can guarantee you get off at the end of the clock, rather than too soon. (By not running off the clock under a few seconds you leave the other team with 0.5-1 points of expected value).
3. A static iso early in the clock. This is meh, and I'd prefer at least some screening action to get a rhythm pullup 3.

I think we'll see more double-teams, at least as a change of pace. However, if that gets Kemba/Jaylen/GH the ball in space, the Celtics will be ecstatic about the outcome. There's a reason teams have been reluctant to do it: you're basically giving the Celtics the exact thing their offense is trying to manufacture: dynamic playmakers in space against a scrambling defense.
Agree wrt to the ISO, #3 is the only case where it bothers me (again, from any player on any team - I just dislike iso basketball).

I see the point about creating space for their other creators. I just wonder if his patience, vision, and passing are ready for that kind of a concentrated approach.
 

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Agree wrt to the ISO, #3 is the only case where it bothers me (again, from any player on any team - I just dislike iso basketball).

I see the point about creating space for their other creators. I just wonder if his patience, vision, and passing are ready for that kind of a concentrated approach.
It's a fair call out on your part, but I'm not worried. It doesn't appear to be any kind of a "ride or die" thing. What I mean is that recent iterations of the Celtics offense would come down to IT4 or Kyrie on that ISO loop in the fourth, and we all hope for the best. But this team has so many playmakers and dynamic guys that it should never be a staple. Like it won't happen, not just that it's a bad idea.

Kemba et al. have spoken here and there about riding the hot hand, and I think that's what we see here. Even some of the "ok this isn't efficient offense but yay it worked" plays are more one-offs, heat checks, etc. Tatum is clearly all bought in on both ends, evidenced on offense by the disappearance of the ghastly long 2s. If they feed the beast once in a while, it's not a big deal imo.
 

lovegtm

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I see the point about creating space for their other creators. I just wonder if his patience, vision, and passing are ready for that kind of a concentrated approach.
It's not a super-hard read to make, and it helps a LOT that he's 6-8: he can see over traps in the way Hayward does. Probably it will look like a mild learning curve, a few mistakes, and then he'll handle it routinely. There's a reason teams use traps more against smaller guys, all else being equal.

I like that he's eliminated the long step-in 2 in favor of 3s, while also getting more comfortable with that shorter fadeaway from 15 feet or so that you need to round out the equity of your drives.
 

RetractableRoof

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It's not a super-hard read to make, and it helps a LOT that he's 6-8: he can see over traps in the way Hayward does. Probably it will look like a mild learning curve, a few mistakes, and then he'll handle it routinely. There's a reason teams use traps more against smaller guys, all else being equal.

I like that he's eliminated the long step-in 2 in favor of 3s, while also getting more comfortable with that shorter fadeaway from 15 feet or so that you need to round out the equity of your drives.
Agreed on the swapping of the long step-in 2 in favor of the 3s. It gives him shots on 3 levels or distances, making it even harder to guard him. As the defender no matter what you give him, he can effectively take it. It also complements the seal set they run as another option off the actions.
 

lovegtm

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Agreed on the swapping of the long step-in 2 in favor of the 3s. It gives him shots on 3 levels or distances, making it even harder to guard him. As the defender no matter what you give him, he can effectively take it. It also complements the seal set they run as another option off the actions.
Exactly—the primary value of the seal set is the seal, secondary would be getting fouled, tertiary os a pass out or down low for a high value shot, but you want the fadeaway to be good enough that you’re realizing OKish EV even when none of that materializes.

Sometimes a 40-45% shot is better than having to reset the play, especially if you sometimes get fouls or upfake+stepthroughs out of it.

The problem with the long 2 is that it didn’t have any of options 1-3, and it didn’t have much chance of strong upfakes, since you’re not close enough.