Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

Jed Zeppelin

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Tatum has always cared very obviously about external validation and awards+historical context. I remember him saying he wished the Celtics hadn't traded down so that he could say he was the #1 pick.

I think it's a positive tbh: it seems to push him to round out his game in all areas. A lot of great players have really cared about things like All-Star games and MVPs--peer/coach/media validation is a powerful motivator.
There are pros and cons. Last season it led him to try to be Kobe Jr, but I agree it is a good thing overall. At the end of the day, he is the kind of guy other stars will want to play with. He’s just got that aura.

Contrast with Jaylen, who seems driven much more by intrinsic motivation to improve his game. I think each of their mindsets works perfectly for them. Obviously happy to have them both.
 

DJnVa

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Since he was announced an All Star he's averaged 29.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, while shooting 46.9% from three.
 

lovegtm

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Nice article. It reminds of something on Twitter yesterday as to why analytics-adjacent people seem to have trouble seeing Tatum as a star, even when everything about his profile says he’s nearly there and getting better. (Impact metrics, team winning, ability to elevate his game against intensity and game-planning.)

Mahoney hints on the reason: he doesn’t pattern-match against most star profiles. At this point, however, I really don’t see how he doesn’t compare EXTREMELY favorably to Paul George at the same age, with more ability to create his own offense. That’s a really f—ing good player.
 

the moops

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I really don’t see how he doesn’t compare EXTREMELY favorably to Paul George at the same age, with more ability to create his own offense. That’s a really f—ing good player.
And even this comparison is tough, for it took PG until his age 23 season to make his leap. And even that leap resulted in a season not as good as Tatum's age 21 season (less effcient shooting, fewer points, similar rate of rebounds/assists/steals/turnovers). I do suppose that PG was a better defender, but not so much that it makes up for the 2 year age difference
 

lovegtm

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And even this comparison is tough, for it took PG until his age 23 season to make his leap. And even that leap resulted in a season not as good as Tatum's age 21 season (less effcient shooting, fewer points, similar rate of rebounds/assists/steals/turnovers). I do suppose that PG was a better defender, but not so much that it makes up for the 2 year age difference
Yeah, 2 years is an eternity at this age.

PG def gets bonus points for taking a great Heat team to 7 games, but Tatum nearly was the 1st or 2nd best player on a Finals team as a 20 year-old.

God I miss basketball. Really hope he’s able to keep working on his game.
 

lovegtm

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Two comments on this. I miss it too and would love to see some kind of tournament when they return. Also, I read an article on Tatum last week where he said he hadn't touched a basketball.
Yeah, not gonna judge him, but it seems really out of character. Someone with his resources/connections shouldn’t have trouble finding a safe private place to play.

My guess with a lot of guys is that getting an unexpected break in the middle of the grind was a relief and they found they liked the physical/mental downtime.
 

DJnVa

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On a podcast Ainge said Tatum's place did not have a hoop, but he had ordered one.
 

benhogan

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DJnVa

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They talked about this on their podcast. Good stuff.

It's amazing that he wanted to go to Phoenix to get shots and thought he could likely be the face of the franchise and Booker exploded to be that guy and Tatum goes to Boston and gets shots and becomes the face of the franchise.
 

nighthob

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Tatum originally wanted to go to Phoenix... yikes



Can you blame him? He’d’ve had a starting job and a green light to shoot from day one. Of course there was no way to get him without offering Boston a mint. In an alternate universe Boston traded with Phoenix in 2017 and drafted Donovan Mitchell #4. And then the following year traded DeAndre Ayton to the Hawks for Luka Doncic and some future firsts.
 

lovegtm

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Tatum originally wanted to go to Phoenix... yikes



The most impressive/interesting thing about Tatum is that he’s a selfish chucker at heart, but has been able to channel that desire to be The Man into improving all aspects of his game.

Like, he literally put insane amounts of time into his defensive game and stepback 3 so that he’d have a longer leash to chuck more.

The Celtics also deserve a lot of credit for being able to get young scoring wings to buy into defense first. I doubt Langford is at anywhere near the defensive level he’s shown if he were drafted by Phoenix or Sacramento.
 

amarshal2

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The most impressive/interesting thing about Tatum is that he’s a selfish chucker at heart, but has been able to channel that desire to be The Man into improving all aspects of his game.

Like, he literally put insane amounts of time into his defensive game and stepback 3 so that he’d have a longer leash to chuck more.

The Celtics also deserve a lot of credit for being able to get young scoring wings to buy into defense first. I doubt Langford is at anywhere near the defensive level he’s shown if he were drafted by Phoenix or Sacramento.
This really is the truth. And it's the type of thing analysts and fans can't figure out about a player unless they pay a LOT...frankly too much...attention. The structure of Boston actually might have changed the course of Tatum's career in a lot of good ways that he won't appreciate for some time. He'd maybe be a more advanced offensive player somewhere else by now with all the chucking he'd be able to do but he'd be ragged on for being another Carmelo by a segment of the population and he probably wouldn't win as much. In Boston he has a chance to be the best player on a championship level team because of how good of an all around player he is.
 

nighthob

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I'm not sure that he is a more advanced offensive player elsewhere. Unlimited greenlighting usually leads to players with worse shot selection. By dictating that playing time flows from defense Boston did wonders for him on both ends of the floor. To get his shots he had to turn himself into a good defensive player, and along the way he's turned in to a defensive wrecking ball.
 

lovegtm

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I'm not sure that he is a more advanced offensive player elsewhere. Unlimited greenlighting usually leads to players with worse shot selection. By dictating that playing time flows from defense Boston did wonders for him on both ends of the floor. To get his shots he had to turn himself into a good defensive player, and along the way he's turned in to a defensive wrecking ball.
Yeah, wanting to get shots on a good offense is what forced his iso range out to the 3-point line, which is where most of his offensive upside comes from.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I also wonder if Tatum's (and Brown's) career trajectory will be impacted by the Kyrie experience followed by the relative calm of this season. He and Brown now have firsthand experience seeing a supremely talented player fail because he couldn't gel with his teammates. Then they play with a guy like Walker who seems more intent on winning than getting numbers. That seems like it would have an impact on a young player who is figuring out their path.

Phoenix was never going to give him that sort of perspective for a variety of reasons.
 

Kliq

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I also wonder if Tatum's (and Brown's) career trajectory will be impacted by the Kyrie experience followed by the relative calm of this season. He and Brown now have firsthand experience seeing a supremely talented player fail because he couldn't gel with his teammates. Then they play with a guy like Walker who seems more intent on winning than getting numbers. That seems like it would have an impact on a young player who is figuring out their path.

Phoenix was never going to give him that sort of perspective for a variety of reasons.
There is just a massive difference to being under the steady leadership of Stevens (and to a lesser extent, Ainge) and the revolving door of coaches and executives in Phoenix.

The Kyrie point is interesting. I'm kind of a believer in the idea that the most destructive thing that Kyrie did was hinder the development of the Js, but you raise a good point that perhaps Kyrie taught them a valuable lesson, ironically about leadership and responsibility as a star player. In hindsight, it is possible to look at Kyrie's tenure in Boston and not really see a destructive angle at all. Yeah, he blew it last year in the playoffs but was that Celtics team really going to win the title? Isn't it better to have Kyrie gone; replace his production with a player 95 percent has talented but about 100000000x less combustible, and have the Js in a better position moving forward?
 

Euclis20

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I assume it's meant to link to this video from yesterday:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w-jnhRWNbQ


Worth noting he's been on the Tatum train for awhile now:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_X3suPuT9Q


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS6-uDFwEI8


Just seeing Tatum's now mentioned in a group of the brightest young stars (Zion and Luka) is pretty great. He doesn't have the otherworldly athleticism of Zion or the once in a decade playmaking of Luka, but he's a better outside shooter and defender than either of them.
 

BigSoxFan

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Yup. Tatum getting all this national attention is good for business for the Celtics. Hard to believe he’s barely 22. We were so close to the Sixers running the East for a decade. Phew.
 

bakahump

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If you squint you could also say that 2018 was valuable experience to the Js. Without Kyrie we probably are not in a position to make a deep run into the playoffs. Plus with Kyries injuries that allowed the Js to gain experience in that setting and being "the man". Mix in Gordons injury and it might be hard finding a better "Master class" in becoming an NBA Superstar.

Its too bad the Playoffs are off or at least wildly screwed up this year. There cant have been many players in NBA history who would have gained as much playoff experience in their first few then Brown and Tatum.
 

tbrown_01923

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The defense that Tatum plays is on a different level than Luka and Zion. Tatums body has projection he is likley to hit, and that should further improve his shooting. I am not sure Luka or Zion have much physical projection. The obvious thing with them is that Luka will lilkely improve his shooting and Zion may. I'd like to see JT improve his passing, but as an alpha scorer it is a nice to have, but probably a requirement for rings. It will be interesting to follow :)
 

chilidawg

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Nice compare and contrast piece in the Athletic today on Tatum, Simmons and Siakam. Bottom line, Tatum is most pure scorer, maybe slightly behind the other two as a defender and passer. Three great young players.

 

JCizzle

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That beard isn’t doing it for me, but can’t argue with the results since he grew it out!
 

Euclis20

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John Hollinger did his NBA awards column, and Tatum got plenty of love. Hollinger has him on 2nd team all NBA, as well as 2nd team all defense (Smart also makes 2nd team all D):

As with Beverley, Smart is viscerally alluring to most casual fans. However, he also doesn’t plague himself with fouls and is strong enough in his lower body to handle switches against most bigs. He’s my choice at the 2.

Smart’s eye test puts him on the team even though the overall impact stats don’t make his case very loudly. His Celtics teammate Tatum actually provoked a bigger statistical jump in the Celtics’ defense this past season, thanks to his multi-positional defensive talents at 6-8. Situationally, his ability to cross-match on a team without a true power forward makes his case stronger.

Fortunately, I have room for both Celtics on my ballot … at least this year. Orlando’s rising terror Johnathan Isaac only played 949 minutes due to injury, but definitely would have been the pick at small forward had he stayed in the lineup all season. In his absence, having two Celtics here feels fair: Boston ranked fourth in defense this year despite losing Al Horford and having a less-than-dominant frontcourt rotation.
 

the moops

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That is someone trying really hard to find something that is really irrelevant.

But anyway, AD ranks 11, 17, 21, 3 in those categories, while Tatum ranks 15, 32, 19, 38.

Alas, Tatum is no AD
 

Red Averages

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There are only two players that spent quarantine at Kemba Walker’s house.
Kemba and Granite.
Need I say more?
 

DJnVa

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After a FaceTime call with his trainer Drew Hanlen to go over how Tatum was drifting off balance, Tatum worked Saturday to correct his footwork. He does a series of drills with Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga to recreate stepping into the shot from different angles, spinning off invisible contact to recreate some of the disorientation he experiences trying to shake his defender in real games. After a little film study and a dose of practice, Tatum felt right again.
 

TripleOT

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Watch Tatum's reaction to this Brown pass. He shows more excitement for his teammate's great play than for when he does something spectacular. In many cases in NBA history, star players coming up at the same time butt heads. These two are in total sync. It's almost unfair in a wing dominated game that the Celtics will have these two amazing young players together for years.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-rh7kMfbVs
 

DannyDarwinism

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I thought his defense was fantastic last night. He did a great job manning up with Lowry, and off the ball he's always so aware and engaged, and consistently making the right read. I've been watching a lot of Michael Porter Jr., and JT's effort, quick-processing and discipline really stand out in contrast. Same with Zion, who looks lost out there in D. I think a lot of us were really encouraged at the defensive maturity he showed as a rookie, and now he's legitimately becoming a defensive anchor. It makes life for opposing perimeter players so tough in the half court sets when JT, JB and Marcus are out there firing on all cylinders.
 
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Jimbodandy

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I thought his defense was fantastic last night. He did a great job manning up with Lowry, and off the ball he's always so aware and engaged, and consistently making the right read. I've been watching a lot of Michael Porter Jr., and JT's effort, quick-processing and discipline really stand out in contrast. Same with Zion, who looks lost out there in D. I think a lot of us were really encouraged at the defensive maturity he showed as a rookie, and now he's legitimately becoming a defensive anchor. It makes life for opposing perimeter players so tough in the half court sets when JT, JB and Marcus are out there firing on all cylinders.
Agreed, and his defense allows him to be an impact player even on those weird nights when things aren't working offensively. He's a menace out there.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Tatum just alpha'd that OT game against the replacement Magic.

He is essentially unguardable already in his third season and its clear he is still figuring his game out. Given the way the game has changed, I doubt that he will break Bird's single game scoring record but he has all the tools to do so.
 
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RorschachsMask

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Tatim just alpha'd that OT game against the replacement Magic.

He is essentially unguardable already in his third season and its clear he is still figuring his game out. Given the way the game has changed, I doubt that he will break Bird's single game scoring record but he has all the tools to do so.
You can tell that so far in the bubble, he has been content with deferring and letting everyone else do their thing. But when he decides to take over a game, he does so. Well, outside of the bucks game.

There’s been some bumps of course, but he pretty much gets wherever he wants on the court at this point. The uptick in playmaking is huge for his development as well, at 4 assists a game in bubble play.