Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

Devizier

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Also, in last nights game Tatum was finishing at the hoop with great efficiency. I wonder how much the threat of a step back helps him there. Mostly though it looks like he’s hiding the ball better.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Also, in last nights game Tatum was finishing at the hoop with great efficiency. I wonder how much the threat of a step back helps him there. Mostly though it looks like he’s hiding the ball better.
I think he's taking extra dribbles too, which is a small but crucial change. I think we all fondly remember him as a rookie swooping in from the lane and finishing, but as defenders figured it out, it became very easy to block or defender. You really didn't see that many instances where he would take those extra dribbles, get nice and close, and still use that range to find blue sky, whether it's an up and under, reverse, whatever.

By the way, Jaylen has also mastered the same thing this year except he is more likely to do it with his strength and quick leaping to clear space.

Very impressive when both of them spent a lot of time missing more layups than it seemed like they should be missing earlier in their careers.
 

RetractableRoof

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I think he's taking extra dribbles too, which is a small but crucial change. I think we all fondly remember him as a rookie swooping in from the lane and finishing, but as defenders figured it out, it became very easy to block or defender. You really didn't see that many instances where he would take those extra dribbles, get nice and close, and still use that range to find blue sky, whether it's an up and under, reverse, whatever.

By the way, Jaylen has also mastered the same thing this year except he is more likely to do it with his strength and quick leaping to clear space.

Very impressive when both of them spent a lot of time missing more layups than it seemed like they should be missing earlier in their careers.
I think this might also be (beyond both of them putting in the off season hours on their handle) a by-product of the seal set. As they've both learned to exploit the set, they've gotten comfortable with putting defenders behind them (in jail?), change the pace of their penetration, and generally be more comfortable dribbling in traffic. That confidence (and calmness) is allowing them to appraise the situation for the opportunities you mention.
 

RetractableRoof

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I was thinking a bit about the leap this year of the two Jays (and to a lesser but real extent Marcus Smart and his passing). Many have commented on better handles, more attacking, additions to their game. We've given a lot of credit in a lot of deserved directions. I think there is one more direction that has been influential to each of them that hasn't been mentioned (or that I've misssed): their international experience with the US National team.

The team may not have come back with the gold medal they were after, but the Cs representatives all were in the environment from beginning to end (excepting some injury time). Training, practice, scrimmages, games, all of it. Kemba was already comfortable with being in the rarefied air of that environment, but for the others it had to be eye opening from a number of perspectives. 1) The potential acceptance/confirmation/proof that "they belong" can't be understated. 2) Seeing the things that others do to either prepare, be ready for practice/training/games . 3) Being on the court with others that expect and deliver a certain level of in-game execution. 4) Being in an environment where subjugating egos is necessary for the team to flourish. 5) Bonding with Kemba (and each other) in an environment where TEAM success is the only objective. I'm sure I missed (or mis-stated) an item or three, but there is sooo much value in this experience. Going forward, I have to believe that Tatum will be selected to the Olympic team (if they aren't cancelled due to pandemic concerns), Brown/Smart will be lesser options once the guys who skipped the worlds jump back in (assuming Pop allows them to). This secondary exposure in that environment should again provide a growth opportunity for Tatum, and anyone else selected.

I remember reading a bit about Patrick Ewing after the dream team experience. The gist of it was that coming from the Knicks and being the alpha there, he wasn't ready/aware of the expectations of playing with other great players. One example was that at any moment, at any time a pass could be coming and he had to be ready to receive it and execute with it, where with the Knicks the pass didn't come until he was ready to receive it. He talked about it raising his game, because he saw what he could be capable of in the context of other great players.

Like I said, just a passing thought.
 

bigq

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I agree 100%. The extended preseason and team building experience for Smart, Kemba, Brown and Tatum in China was a boon for the team. I think there was discussion around this in another thread. Maybe the FIBA World Cup or the offseason thread. Anyway, this team seems to be closer knit by a mile than last year and the time together in China played a big part in that.
 

Jimbodandy

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I agree 100%. The extended preseason and team building experience for Smart, Kemba, Brown and Tatum in China was a boon for the team. I think there was discussion around this in another thread. Maybe the FIBA World Cup or the offseason thread. Anyway, this team seems to be closer knit by a mile than last year and the time together in China played a big part in that.
Good call out. It definitely helped. The chemistry is off the charts.

Addition by subtraction isn't the only factor here, though it is also real.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Good call out. It definitely helped. The chemistry is off the charts.

Addition by subtraction isn't the only factor here, though it is also real.
A lot of it is just potential turning into skill. The great thing is, Jaylen and Jayson still have a few more years of serious growth.
 

lovegtm

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A lot of it is just potential turning into skill. The great thing is, Jaylen and Jayson still have a few more years of serious growth.
Yeah, I made this point a few days ago: when you watch last year’s playoffs, Tatum was already becoming who he is on off-ball D. Jackie Mac’s Pop narrative was sweet, but inaccurate.

It also does a disservice to Tatum and Brown: they both clearly want to be great and are willing to put in a lot of time across all facets of the game.
 

Jimbodandy

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Yeah. Evolution of two great young players is the biggest piece, no doubt. They deserve the bulk of the credit for the difference.

Not having teammates holding them back also helps though. In fact, Hayward and Kemba are actively sublimating their own games and empowering the Jays. Stark contrast to last year.

And while chemistry is poo pooed in a lot of circles, I think that those four guys om the national team hanging together, bonding with each other and other pros, hearing a lot of the same shit but also new and interesting shit from Pop has value. Knowing that you belong has value.
 
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NomarsFool

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Not to take anything away from JB and JT, but Hayward is a MUCH better player this year than he was last year. So, the difference from last season is a combination of their growth (which is great, don't get me wrong), the Kemba instead of Kyrie upgrade (chemistry and defense), and Hayward's improvement. All those things (also getting rid of Morris and Rozier) just add up to a much more successful and enjoyable team.
 

PedrosRedGlove

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I forget where I heard it, I think in Jaylen's new interview segment with Taylor Rooks. He spoke about his struggles and anxiety last year, then went into detail about the China trip and how much it helped develop this year's chemistry. He specifically noted how positive of an influence on everyone Kemba was thoughout the whole process, including the disappointing losses, never getting down and driving home that it could be a learning experience rather than a failure.

It must have been such a breath of fresh air after last year. Basketball being a team game, I think I'd take Kemba Walker 10 times out of 10 over Kyrie Irving having watched both on a daily basis now. The contrast in their ability to actually Lead a team is stark.
 

TripleOT

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If Kyrie couldn't handle sharing the stage with LeBron, he certainly didn't have enough character to share it with two up and comers like Tatum and Brown. Kemba wants to win. He was a winner in college, and was stuck in a horrible situation with that clownshow that Michael Jordan runs in Charlotte.

Whether he's 1-11 in a game or 9-11, Kemba still has the same attitude - attack and play team ball. I have never gotten the impression that it was about him, while every minute I watched Kyrie I never got the impression that it wasn't about him.

Thursday night in a nationally televised game, Kemba could have tried to put the focus on him in crunch time. Kyrie certainly would have. Instead he ceded to Tatum, who was locked in and having his way with one of the best defenders in the league.

If the Cs can surpass the Raps, they would probably get the Nets in the first round. Assuming Kyrie plays, it will be fun watching him get dogged in the playoffs.
 

Saints Rest

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Yeah. Evolution of two great young players is the biggest piece, no doubt. They deserve the bulk of the credit for the difference.

Not having teammates holding them back also helps though. In fact, Hayward and Kemba are actively sublimating their own games and empowering the Jays. Stark contrast to last year.

And while chemistry is poo pooed in a lot of circles, I think that those four guys om the national team hanging together, bonding with each other and other pros, hearing a lot of the same shit but also new and interesting shit from Pop has value. Knowing that you belong has value.
I think this was the one bit missing from RetractableRoof’s analysis. My sense is that Brad and Pop preach a similar gospel but being two different people with wildly different resumes, they are going to teach it in different ways. This means that not only are the Jays (and Marcus) getting a new perspective on it, they are also getting Brad’s message reinforced by a HOF coach.
 

BaseballJones

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So where are we going to end up ranking the #1 for #3 (Tatum) + pick trade in Celtics' history? Obviously Fultz has made himself a player in the NBA that deserves some minutes, so I'm happy for him, because it wasn't looking good there for a while. But Tatum has become a star, perhaps on his way to superstardom. And the Celtics got another lottery pick out of it.

Gotta be one of the great trades in Celtics' history, right?
 

lovegtm

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So where are we going to end up ranking the #1 for #3 (Tatum) + pick trade in Celtics' history? Obviously Fultz has made himself a player in the NBA that deserves some minutes, so I'm happy for him, because it wasn't looking good there for a while. But Tatum has become a star, perhaps on his way to superstardom. And the Celtics got another lottery pick out of it.

Gotta be one of the great trades in Celtics' history, right?
Unless Langford ends up awesome, I think of this more as a great job drafting than as a great trade.

But it’s still great.
 

the moops

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Unless Langford ends up awesome, I think of this more as a great job drafting than as a great trade.

But it’s still great.
Agree with this. The trade didn't need to happen for the Celtics to get Tatum. They could have just taken him #1. So the added value is whatever they get out of Langford
 

RetractableRoof

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Unless Langford ends up awesome, I think of this more as a great job drafting than as a great trade.

But it’s still great.
I don't know if I agree. The trade of Henderson for what became Len Bias WAS a great trade. They ended up with the #2 pick. The result/outcome of the trade was horrible, but that was unknowable at the time of the trade.

I feel like the Tatum trade was a great trade, period. The results were again, unknowable - but turning the player you want into the same player plus a lottery pick is a great trade. That it came at the hands of a historic division rival is delicious icing on the cake.

Perhaps its semantics, but saying a trade involving future draft picks is only valuable if you cash in on the picks conflates drafting acumen with trading accumen.
 

chilidawg

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I don't know if I agree. The trade of Henderson for what became Len Bias WAS a great trade. They ended up with the #2 pick. The result/outcome of the trade was horrible, but that was unknowable at the time of the trade.

I feel like the Tatum trade was a great trade, period. The results were again, unknowable - but turning the player you want into the same player plus a lottery pick is a great trade. That it came at the hands of a historic division rival is delicious icing on the cake.

Perhaps its semantics, but saying a trade involving future draft picks is only valuable if you cash in on the picks conflates drafting acumen with trading accumen.
Nicely articulated.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I don't know if I agree. The trade of Henderson for what became Len Bias WAS a great trade. They ended up with the #2 pick. The result/outcome of the trade was horrible, but that was unknowable at the time of the trade.

I feel like the Tatum trade was a great trade, period. The results were again, unknowable - but turning the player you want into the same player plus a lottery pick is a great trade. That it came at the hands of a historic division rival is delicious icing on the cake.

Perhaps its semantics, but saying a trade involving future draft picks is only valuable if you cash in on the picks conflates drafting acumen with trading accumen.
On the one hand, it was essentially a free lottery pick. (If you buy - as I do - the theory that Ainge, unable to make a deal, would have just drafted Tatum at #1).

But the key franchise-altering thing in this case was drafting Tatum, which would have happened either way.

A real franchise-alternating great deal happened in 1980, when the Celtics traded the #1 pick (Joe Barry Carroll) and the #13 pick (Rickey Brown) for veteran C Robert Parish and the #3 pick (Kevin McHale).

That is a great deal.
 

RetractableRoof

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On the one hand, it was essentially a free lottery pick. (If you buy - as I do - the theory that Ainge, unable to make a deal, would have just drafted Tatum at #1).

But the key franchise-altering thing in this case was drafting Tatum, which would have happened either way.

A real franchise-alternating great deal happened in 1980, when the Celtics traded the #1 pick (Joe Barry Carroll) and the #13 pick (Rickey Brown) for veteran C Robert Parish and the #3 pick (Kevin McHale).

That is a great deal.
I agree, Tatum was Ainge's pick to be a Celtic no matter which way things played out. I guess we disagree on the term "free" then - it seems like you are devaluing Ainge's skill in making that happen. Because Ainge played his cards close to the vest, and had Fultz in for a couple of workouts. Everyone in the league thought Boston was going to do the expected thing and take Fulz. Whether he took the call, or initiated the call, communication had to happen with Philly. And then on top of that, he had to be 100 percent sure that Tatum was going to get past the Lakers. It wasn't a free lottery pick, it was one he earned, finagled, bluffed, whatever term you put on it. If people had thought he was going to pick Tatum, there would have been no lottery pick. That was the horse trader in him coming out.

Of course the Parish/McHale trade combination was franchise altering, and one of Red's finest. As was the Henderson/#2 or Bias deal. As was the Pierce/Garnett/Terry deal with Brooklyn. I've not called Tatum a franchise trade, however I do think it was a great one - the pick he got wasn't a 2nd rounder or a late first, it was a lottery pick. If Langford turns into a starter for the Cs and contributes to a title, then I think it's fair to elevate the trade. For now, it was a great trade given the circumstances.
 

DannyDarwinism

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A healthier and more charismatic Kawhi?
It’s wild, but that’s where we’re at. A less surly, more self-aware KD? It’s not out of the question give his age, growth curve, skills and drive.

For as good as he’s been, he still has some low hanging fruit to pick in continuing to work on his handle so he can really prod defenses.He has that KD and Kwahi crazy-high release, when he gets to his spots and squares up, he’s making it. The Hayward probe and pull-up from 15 would a nice complement to his game. He has that KD and Kwahi crazy-high release, when he gets to his spots and squares up, he’s making it. But really, there are a hundred ways he can get better, and everything we know about him so far leads me to believe that he’ll attack them all.

He’s a superstar.
 
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amarshal2

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He’s starting to get calls. Lots of free throws recently. And literally everything in his game looks better than a month ago. Some of it is hot shooting but some of it really looks like a sustained improvement. He’s at a level right now that few ever get to. He’s playing like a top ~5-15 player in the league.

The question is how much ceiling does he have left seeing as he’s just about 22. Could he continue to grow and reach top 5 status? Competition is stiff. Zion. Luka. Simmons. Embiid. AD and Giannis are still pretty young. Siakam could keep improving. Ingram and Trae are pretty good if they learn to defend. Is this the future of the nba? We’ll see.
 

the moops

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It’s wild, but that’s where we’re at. A less surly, more self-aware KD? It’s not out of the question give his age, growth curve, skills and drive.

For as good as he’s been, he still has some low hanging fruit to pick in continuing to work on his handle so he can really prod defenses.He has that KD and Kwahi crazy-high release, when he gets to his spots and squares up, he’s making it. The Hayward probe and pull-up from 15 would a nice complement to his game. He has that KD and Kwahi crazy-high release, when he gets to his spots and squares up, he’s making it. But really, there are a hundred ways he can get better, and everything we know about him so far leads me to believe that he’ll attack them all.

He’s a superstar.
I was curious so I looked up KD's age 21 season, which was also his 3rd year (PG and Kawhi each were in their 2nd season, age 21 years).

Anyway - my god KD. As a 21 year old, he was putting up 30 points, and getting the the free throw line 10 times a game (and shot 90% from the line). His TS% was .607

21 year olf Tatum is better than either 21 year old Kawhi or PG. But our man is no Durant.
 

lexrageorge

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He’s starting to get calls. Lots of free throws recently. And literally everything in his game looks better than a month ago. Some of it is hot shooting but some of it really looks like a sustained improvement. He’s at a level right now that few ever get to. He’s playing like a top ~5-15 player in the league.

The question is how much ceiling does he have left seeing as he’s just about 22. Could he continue to grow and reach top 5 status? Competition is stiff. Zion. Luka. Simmons. Embiid. AD and Giannis are still pretty young. Siakam could keep improving. Ingram and Trae are pretty good if they learn to defend. Is this the future of the nba? We’ll see.
I have to believe he has a fair amount of room between his game now and his ceiling. He's a better shooter than Simmons. Ingram is not in the same league and is a year older. Of course, there is also Ja Morant.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The thing is, Tatum hasn't yet filled out and he is already really strong. I don't know what his ceiling is but as others note, he still has a lot of upside as he gets stronger and learns that he can bully most defenders.

The fascinating thing about watching players evolve like this is seeing their confidence increase with each game. He was one of the best players on the floor during the Clippers game and he knew it. Today he was one of the three best players on the floor and it was clear to everyone watching and Tatum seemed aware of it too. This is the point in development where deferring stops and demanding begins. Its now pretty clear that he or Walker should be the primary option going forward. Fortunately for Tatum, the C's and us, he has a few other options to fall back on in the event that they trap him etc.
 

luckiestman

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I feel like this conversation happened.

Danny Theis: Jeez Tatum, what the hell happened bro? How you killin everyone now?

Tatum: I just decided to.

DT: You can just do that?

JT: Hell yeah

DT: Okay, I also decide that I am going to be better and I too am going to be awesome.
 

BigSoxFan

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Giannis is literally the only player in the Eastern Conference I’d trade Jayson for. Not Embiid. Not Simmons. Not Siakam. Not Kyrie. Not post-Achilles AD. Not Butler.

JT is better than all of them.
 

luckiestman

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Giannis is literally the only player in the Eastern Conference I’d trade Jayson for. Not Embiid. Not Simmons. Not Siakam. Not Kyrie. Not post-Achilles AD. Not Butler.

JT is better than all of them.
Giannis is 25.

The judges were looking for:

“You never trade Jayson Tatum”
 

Jed Zeppelin

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He has a lot room for improvement in his passing game. As he becomes quicker at reacting to double teams in general he is going to elevate the players around him by creating all kinds of open looks simply because of his ever-increasing gravity.
 

Gash Prex

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The ABSOLUTE PROBLEM and YOUNGKING ....not as catchy as the Truth though...

He was great but the Celtics had no idea what to do when he got double teamed without Kemba. They were chucking the ball all over the court and taking bad shots.
 

Laser Show

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The ABSOLUTE PROBLEM and YOUNGKING ....not as catchy as the Truth though...

He was great but the Celtics had no idea what to do when he got double teamed without Kemba. They were chucking the ball all over the court and taking bad shots.
Why not just the Problem? I kinda like it...
 

Kliq

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Tatum was awesome today, but one thing that was obvious was that he was slow reacting to the double-teams and over time as he sees more and more of them, he will get better and quickly recognizing where the help is coming from and quickly shuttle the ball over to the open man.
 

lovegtm

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Tatum was awesome today, but one thing that was obvious was that he was slow reacting to the double-teams and over time as he sees more and more of them, he will get better and quickly recognizing where the help is coming from and quickly shuttle the ball over to the open man.
Yeah, we saw this earlier in the year with Kemba--the team didn't really know how to handle his getting double-teamed, and then after a few games of it was pretty comfortable.

It's good if it starts happening more in games--the theory of this team is to be immune to this kind of defensive attacks, but there's no substitute for game reps.

Also, freaking Tatum. I was sure it would take him until after this summer to start doing this stuff. We've seen with Harden and Luka how players with elite stepback 3s have a huge advantage when they integrate that with drives. Now he gets to start working on how to use the increased attention to his stepback to effectively gain a step, which leads to more fouls, also leads to more passing opportunities. His ceiling (with the usual caveats about ceilings) at this point is basically Harden+Kawhi.
 

lovegtm

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Now that I'm watching more closely, I will say specifically about the Lakers game that Tatum had 4 or 5 really poor effort/awareness plays that cost easy points. Not super-concerned, but it's something to watch for a bit as he takes more and more offensive load and transitions to top-of-the-league usage levels.
 

DJnVa

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Tatum was awesome today, but one thing that was obvious was that he was slow reacting to the double-teams and over time as he sees more and more of them, he will get better and quickly recognizing where the help is coming from and quickly shuttle the ball over to the open man.
Stevens on postgame was talking about this. He said some of this stuff Tatum hasn't seen a lot of so it's hard to go to the film and point things out, but that this game, and how the Lakers played him, will help a lot.