Jayson Tatum's Rise to the Top

snowmanny

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Also that trade with the 76ers looks better and better everyday.
I’m not sure how to judge that trade. If we make it a given that Danny had identified Tatum as his number one, it was incredibly risky and I don’t think the gain was worth anything near the risk. (The risk being that PHI or LAL would figure out that Tatum was the prize; you have two teams to outsmart while in the Joe Barry trade Red could be much more sure he would get McHale or Griffith.)

As it turned out maybe (maybe) the C’s wouldn’t have White without the trade. So, sure it worked out and all is well and maybe Danny had reason to be 100% sure that barring an injury to Fultz or Ball that Tatum would be there.

But boy do it over I think Danny should have just taken Tatum first.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Is Larry Bird the best "all around" Celtic?

Best Celtic: Russell
Best Celtic, defense: Russell
Best Celtic, offense: Bird, with Tatum in pursuit.
Best Celtic, scoring: Tatum, maybe Pierce if you think Tatum hasn't been at that level for long enough yet
Best all around Celtic: Havlicek?, with Tatum in pursuit.
Why does Larry Bird continue to be undervalued, even by Celtic fans. I put Larry in the top 5 all time NBA players, he was that good. It's not even a question that he was the best all around Celtic. Havlicek maybe a close second, but given the difference in eras and with deeper competition, it's Bird all day. I can argue that the league was much deeper in the 80s than it is today.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Why does Larry Bird continue to be undervalued, even by Celtic fans. I put Larry in the top 5 all time NBA players, he was that good. It's not even a question that he was the best all around Celtic. Havlicek maybe a close second, but given the difference in eras and with deeper competition, it's Bird all day. I can argue that the league was much deeper in the 80s than it is today.
Bird's defensive role was to guard the worst offensive forward on the other team. Bird had underappreciated defensive value for sure, but I'm not sure someone can be the best all around player while generally being given the easiest defensive assignments.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Why does Larry Bird continue to be undervalued, even by Celtic fans. I put Larry in the top 5 all time NBA players, he was that good. It's not even a question that he was the best all around Celtic. Havlicek maybe a close second, but given the difference in eras and with deeper competition, it's Bird all day. I can argue that the league was much deeper in the 80s than it is today.
I agree---I think (and have walked through the logic here before)---that it's hard to put anyone other than MJ, Lebron, Russell, or Kareem above Bird. And you can debate Kareerm, whose longevity is SO much different than Bird but whose peak was also lower (terrific though it was). You can, and I have, made the case for Bird vs MJ but it's a tough one. It's getting tougher for me to make the Bird over Lebron case than it was Bird over MJ---longevity, playmaking, and strength of the league all favor Lebron relative to MJ.

As an aside, what I always find oddest about the MJ argument---and it's a very reasonable argument as greatest ever, to be clear---is that people cite how much he won. If that is remotely a criteria for someone, then Bill Russell wins by a landslide. So given that all of that top five won 3 or more titles and that criteria is not highly differentiating, either you make the case for MJ or Lebron on the numbers (which one can do for either) or you give it to Russell, seems to me.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Simmons puts Bird at #6.
  1. Michael Jordan
  2. LeBron James
  3. Bill Russell
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  5. Magic Johnson
  6. Larry Bird
  7. Tim Duncan
  8. Wilt Chamberlain
  9. Kobe Bryant
  10. Steph Curry
That seems fair to me, all things considered. No way I put him above any of the top 3.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I'd also argue that Pierce is extremely undervalued by Celtic fans. He played with a lot of garbage on those early 2000 teams and was often the focus of the other team. Sure they had Antoine, but then who else? He also played in the worst era in NBA history. He's definitely top 5 all-time Celtic (maybe higher?).

Edit: let's not forget how bad the coaching was for most of just tenure
 

Eddie Jurak

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I'd also argue that Pierce is extremely undervalued by Celtic fans. He played with a lot of garbage on those early 2000 teams and was often the focus of the other team. Sure they had Antoine, but then who else? He also played in the worst era in NBA history. He's definitely top 5 all-time Celtic (maybe higher?).

Edit: let's not forget how bad the coaching was for most of just tenure
Win shares would put Pierce third after Russell and Bird, just ahead of Havlicek. Whatever the ordering, those are probably the top 4.
 

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I'd also argue that Pierce is extremely undervalued by Celtic fans. He played with a lot of garbage on those early 2000 teams and was often the focus of the other team. Sure they had Antoine, but then who else? He also played in the worst era in NBA history. He's definitely top 5 all-time Celtic (maybe higher?).

Edit: let's not forget how bad the coaching was for most of just tenure
I think PP is also undervalued because of only 1 chip. In Celtic land, that is a small number compared to many of the others whose numbers hang in the rafters. Same with All-NBA honors.
 

Kliq

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Pierce is the most iconic Celtics player for probably anyone born between 1987-2002 or so, I think he is probably rated. He wasn't as good as Russell/Bird/Havlicek/Cowens at his peak, but is a truly iconic figure.
 

Carbo Loading

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Bird's defensive role was to guard the worst offensive forward on the other team. Bird had underappreciated defensive value for sure, but I'm not sure someone can be the best all around player while generally being given the easiest defensive assignments.
I just watched a random YouTube video about Bird in which they showed a Bref stat that he led the league in defense win shares 4 times and was 2nd twice. He was never a lockdown 1-on-1 defender but probably the greatest team defender ever. I just checked Bref and that stat is true. He would be a monster in today’s NBA
 

luckiestman

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Why does Larry Bird continue to be undervalued, even by Celtic fans. I put Larry in the top 5 all time NBA players, he was that good. It's not even a question that he was the best all around Celtic. Havlicek maybe a close second, but given the difference in eras and with deeper competition, it's Bird all day. I can argue that the league was much deeper in the 80s than it is today.
Longevity. Peak Bird is like if Jokic had the mentality(on the court) of LeBron.
 

Bunt4aTriple

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Pierce is the most iconic Celtics player for probably anyone born between 1987-2002 or so, I think he is probably rated. He wasn't as good as Russell/Bird/Havlicek/Cowens at his peak, but is a truly iconic figure.
I was born in '78 but didn't get into basketball until 90-91. Pierce was/is my favorite Celtic, although it's tenuous.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Larry Bird is not the greatest team defender ever.
Agreed, though he was exceptional at it. As he was as the only defender against a two on one break, where I swear he stopped more than 50% of the plays.

I have to say, since we're on Bird, it drives me nuts when people say Jokic is clearly the best big-man passer ever. He could be in the end but I watch a bunch of Nuggets games and don't think he's the passer Bird was---though he has a lot more touches and the counting stats are higher. No knock on Jokic, who is amazing and a lot more creative and effective a passer than we've seen in 15 years or more, but there's a very good case Bird is the best passer in league history, the others in that discussion had a ton more touches, volume, and opps....Magic, Cousy, Kidd and Jokic were all primary ballhandlers. Bird was only a co-lead ballhandler at most. I saw a youtube clip of his greatest passes a couple months back and having watched similar sizzle reels for Magic and others, suffice to say it is not close.

The passing and the team defense are driven by the same thing (and also why Jokic is a much better defender than people realize): incredibly court awareness and intelligence.

A bit relevant to the actual thread and Tatum---he needs to lose his cool less, and ideally he'd have the maniacal need to win that Magic, Jordan, Bird, LBJ have. Tatum competes very, very hard but he's not at that level....few are.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Agreed, though he was exceptional at it. As he was as the only defender against a two on one break, where I swear he stopped more than 50% of the plays.

I have to say, since we're on Bird, it drives me nuts when people say Jokic is clearly the best big-man passer ever. He could be in the end but I watch a bunch of Nuggets games and don't think he's the passer Bird was---though he has a lot more touches and the counting stats are higher. No knock on Jokic, who is amazing and a lot more creative and effective a passer than we've seen in 15 years or more, but there's a very good case Bird is the best passer in league history, the others in that discussion had a ton more touches, volume, and opps....Magic, Cousy, Kidd and Jokic were all primary ballhandlers. Bird was only a co-lead ballhandler at most. I saw a youtube clip of his greatest passes a couple months back and having watched similar sizzle reels for Magic and others, suffice to say it is not close.

The passing and the team defense are driven by the same thing (and also why Jokic is a much better defender than people realize): incredibly court awareness and intelligence.

A bit relevant to the actual thread and Tatum---he needs to lose his cool less, and ideally he'd have the maniacal need to win that Magic, Jordan, Bird, LBJ have. Tatum competes very, very hard but he's not at that level....few are.
I get sucked down in these rabbit holes of watching videos of new generation Lebron/Kobe fans watching highlights of Bird for the first time and stuff, and some of them are just great. Happened to watch this one earlier tonight.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLK6uU4KLx8
 

SumnerH

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Agreed, though he was exceptional at it. As he was as the only defender against a two on one break, where I swear he stopped more than 50% of the plays.

I have to say, since we're on Bird, it drives me nuts when people say Jokic is clearly the best big-man passer ever. He could be in the end but I watch a bunch of Nuggets games and don't think he's the passer Bird was---though he has a lot more touches and the counting stats are higher.
I don't think people really consider Bird a big-man, in those conversations. He had Parish and McHale as the bigs, despite his height. And Magic definitely isn't normally considered a big.
 

Euclis20

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...Hakeem...?
I don't see a guy who never averaged as much as 4 assists per game (and has a career average of 2.5) coming close to cracking a list like this. I know assists aren't the be all end all when it comes to determining who is a good passer, but when we're talking about the best ever, it matters at least a bit.
 
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m0ckduck

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I agree---I think (and have walked through the logic here before)---that it's hard to put anyone other than MJ, Lebron, Russell, or Kareem above Bird. And you can debate Kareerm, whose longevity is SO much different than Bird but whose peak was also lower (terrific though it was).
Kareem was a six-time MVP and the best player of the 1970s. That's a pretty high peak. I have him (resentfully) above even Bill Russell at #3, much as I hate to do it.

I agree with Simmons' ranking of Bird at 6 all time. I think there's a slightly better case for dropping him lower (below Duncan) for lack of longevity than there is for bumping him into the top 5. But 6 seems right.

(On the other hand, I have to admit that I've always blindly accepted Magic at 5 over Bird based on the perception that his peak lasted longer. But looking at the numbers, it's closer than I remember— Magic had basically one more full season of games than Larry. There's a perception— rightfully so— that Magic was relevant as a top-tier player for years longer than Bird, who was noticeably limited after 87-88— but it's interesting how close the stats are for their later years, in fact.)

As an aside, what I always find oddest about the MJ argument---and it's a very reasonable argument as greatest ever, to be clear---is that people cite how much he won. If that is remotely a criteria for someone, then Bill Russell wins by a landslide. So given that all of that top five won 3 or more titles and that criteria is not highly differentiating, either you make the case for MJ or Lebron on the numbers (which one can do for either) or you give it to Russell, seems to me.
I think the criterion is mostly advanced by Jordan advocates as a tie-breaker over Lebron, since MJ had the better and more consistent post-season resume. The Jordan GOAT argument hinges on (a) his best seasons were even better than LBJ's best and (b) For most of Jordan's career, there wasn't a single other player for whom you would consider swapping him out to win a big game, whereas Lebron dips up and down in this measure (had some notable playoff no-shows earlier in his career, was outplayed by KD and Kawhi in Finals, etc). I think it's fair to use "winning" to discern between two players as close as MJ and LBJ. This doesn't suddenly become the main metric by which to judge a player, and the moment you invoke it, you have to go with Russell.

Best passers 6’8” and over

Magic
Bird
LeBron
Jokic
These are definitely the four. In the the runner-up circle: Bill Walton. I was going to add Wes Unseld as another "big man", but then remembered that he was not even 6'8"!

I don't see that a guy who never averaged as much as 4 assists per game (and has a career average of 2.5) coming close to cracking a list like this. I know assists aren't the be all end all when it comes to determining who is a good passer, but when we're talking about the best ever, it matters at least a bit.
Yeah, Hakeem was good, but doesn't stand out for me from Duncan, Pau Gasol, and a host of other good-passing bigs. Even Kareem was very good. You'll never see a highlight clip of him passing, but he was lethally effective at finding the open man vs. the double-team.
 
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Eddie Jurak

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Magic had essentially a 12 year career with 9 Finals appearances, during which he went 5-4. His teams went 2-1 in the Finals against Bird's Celtics. Bird, too, had essentially a 12 year career, and he made 5 Finals appearances and went 3-2, both losses vs Magic's teams.

I don't see the non-Boston-homer case that puts Bird above Magic.
 

lexrageorge

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Magic had essentially a 12 year career with 9 Finals appearances, during which he went 5-4. His teams went 2-1 in the Finals against Bird's Celtics. Bird, too, had essentially a 12 year career, and he made 5 Finals appearances and went 3-2, both losses vs Magic's teams.

I don't see the non-Boston-homer case that puts Bird above Magic.
Some of that Finals gap was opportunity. Western Conference was markedly weaker than the East during that era. The Celtics were seriously hampered by injury in both 1985 (Maxwell) and 1987 when KC Jones drove the starters into the ground and McHale was playing on a broken foot. Bird was by far the better scorer; Magic was superior at running the offense. Magic was a better individual defender later in his career, but Bird's defense often gets overlooked some.

Magic's peak was perhaps; he had an outstanding rookie season (finished 2nd to Bird in RoY voting) and unbelievable Finals against the Sixers. He performed at a high level for 12 seasons, with only one of those, his second, shortened by injury. Bird's peak was 9 years, and he was never the same after he missed his 10th season after undergoing major heel surgery. Another fun fact is that Magic overaged 38 or more minutes twice; Bird averaged more than 38 minutes per game 9 seasons, leading the league in minutes per game twice.
 

InstaFace

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People using +/- to compare players on the Celtics to players on different teams is weird. At least use On/Off. Yeah I'm sure the best player on the best team leads the league in +/-, but how much does that really say about him rather than his team?
 

RorschachsMask

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People using +/- to compare players on the Celtics to players on different teams is weird. At least use On/Off. Yeah I'm sure the best player on the best team leads the league in +/-, but how much does that really say about him rather than his team?
I can dig into the on/off stuff when I’m out of work, but for now I’ll be lazy and just tweet Grande.

View: https://twitter.com/SeanGrandePBP/status/1608533640618864640?s=20&t=rfczW7642YPzxM38yuHDnA


View: https://twitter.com/SeanGrandePBP/status/1601481756481581058?s=20&t=EkzmIeiWcfnxGC1Lq_HnAw
 

InstaFace

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yeah I know, @bowiac 's work is awesome, although I'm not sure I buy it as much for an all-in-one player evaluation stat as much as the box-score-stat projections that it was designed for (I'm not sure I don't, either, but I have to do more reading before I have a strong opinion). Either way, though, my post was a criticism of the Sean Grande tweets, and of lazy commentary everywhere.
 

Jimbodandy

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yeah I know, @bowiac 's work is awesome, although I'm not sure I buy it as much for an all-in-one player evaluation stat as much as the box-score-stat projections that it was designed for (I'm not sure I don't, either, but I have to do more reading before I have a strong opinion). Either way, though, my post was a criticism of the Sean Grande tweets, and of lazy commentary everywhere.
Agreed. It was a show of support, not a criticism. Lack of sleep makes my posting even worse.

Pure +/- is garbage. I mean, it's great when you're the best team in the league and everyone in the rotation is like +100 or better. But it doesn't tell you jack about how good JT is compared to say Luka.

Properly regressed metrics tell you a lot more. That's for Grande, not you.
 

Ed Hillel

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Tatum does everything well, and he scores and defends at an elite level. He had a pretty bad shooting performance yesterday, but he was 12-12 on free throws had 19 freaking rebounds, 6 assists, and played very strong defense. He's one of those guys you want on the floor no matter what. Even at his worst, he's contributing.
Also that trade with the 76ers looks better and better everyday.
It's not just Tatum, but they turned the pick into Derrick White.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Loath though I am to complain after such a massive win, JT's seven (!) turnovers last night harkened back to last year's playoffs, especially when one led to that halfcourt three at the end of the first half, and two were toward the end of regulation. I'm not sure how teams deal with consistent mental errors like that--sports psychologist?
 

Kliq

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Loath though I am to complain after such a massive win, JT's seven (!) turnovers last night harkened back to last year's playoffs, especially when one led to that halfcourt three at the end of the first half, and two were toward the end of regulation. I'm not sure how teams deal with consistent mental errors like that--sports psychologist?
You're not alone. I'd be lying if I watched last night's game and thought it gave me a ton of confidence in a Warriors vs Celtics rematch, specifically because despite how hard he played, Tatum made a lot of mental errors and the team in general seemed out of it for stretches and played really dumb basketball, with Tatum's seven turnovers leading the way.
 

jmcc5400

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You're not alone. I'd be lying if I watched last night's game and thought it gave me a ton of confidence in a Warriors vs Celtics rematch, specifically because despite how hard he played, Tatum made a lot of mental errors and the team in general seemed out of it for stretches and played really dumb basketball, with Tatum's seven turnovers leading the way.
If Jaylen doesn't make that save on Marcus's second consecutive bone-headed pass in the back court . . . well, that's nightmare fuel.
 

Mooch

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You're not alone. I'd be lying if I watched last night's game and thought it gave me a ton of confidence in a Warriors vs Celtics rematch, specifically because despite how hard he played, Tatum made a lot of mental errors and the team in general seemed out of it for stretches and played really dumb basketball, with Tatum's seven turnovers leading the way.
I take confidence in the fact that the Celtics couldn't hit an open jumper for most of the game (shots that they ordinarily hit) and they still won against a team that seems to have their number. I'll also say that the officials had an AWFUL game last night: Tatum could have gone to the line twice as many times as he did with all of the contact and reach-ins that went uncalled.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I don't know how anyone can come away from that game down on Boston. They had nothing and their depth - that was their best "team" win of the season - still put them over the top. And if it wasn't evident from the rotations and defensive intensity, it really seemed like both teams had this game circled based on their respective comments before and after.

The Warriors needed this game, they had it and yet it slipped away to a team whom they had been beating of late. Even though its only one game, it has to sting.
 

slamminsammya

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I don't know how anyone can come away from that game down on Boston. They had nothing and their depth - that was their best "team" win of the season - still put them over the top. And if it wasn't evident from the rotations and defensive intensity, it really seemed like both teams had this game circled based on their respective comments before and after.

The Warriors needed this game, they had it and yet it slipped away to a team whom they had been beating of late. Even though its only one game, it has to sting.
Yeah, I found that game very encouraging. Missing layups, boneheaded turnovers, a late deficit and they still gutted it out against a very motivated team. Huge win.
 

Kliq

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Yeah, I found that game very encouraging. Missing layups, boneheaded turnovers, a late deficit and they still gutted it out against a very motivated team. Huge win.
I'm happy they won and feel much better than if they had lost, but those boneheaded turnovers, missing easy shots, etc. made me feel slightly uneasy, like they were rattled again playing GS. Not panicking or anything like that, but just a little off.
 

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As far as Tatum’s overall performance, it is
nice to see the effect on scoring now that he’s actually getting the calls, as many here last year speculated would happen. So there’s that, at least.

It’s be nice if they could hit their threes, though… the spacing doesn’t work without it. And it really looked to me like GSW were sometimes saying, well, if they’re not gonna miss on their own, we can more people in and around the paint and then it’s all handsy defense as some have been calling it if anyone tries to drive.

Team Sports Psychologist!*


*I don’t know if that actually works.
 

RSN Diaspora

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I don't know how anyone can come away from that game down on Boston. They had nothing and their depth - that was their best "team" win of the season - still put them over the top. And if it wasn't evident from the rotations and defensive intensity, it really seemed like both teams had this game circled based on their respective comments before and after.

The Warriors needed this game, they had it and yet it slipped away to a team whom they had been beating of late. Even though its only one game, it has to sting.
There's a difference between being down on the club and being unnerved by a cavalcade of mental mistakes in a game that you know the C's wanted badly. I'm up on the team--very much so to the point that games like these remind me of how I felt during the Brady years and never feeling like the Patriots were really out of any game. But I think it's also OK to acknowledge that this was indeed their best "team" win of the year and also a very ugly win that could've gone the other way easily and done so entirely because of unforced errors by the club. At the top of those errors are all the turnovers, an eye-popping number of which came from JT.
 

RorschachsMask

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I didn’t love the turnovers, and a few of them were really bad ones. But tired players turn the ball over, and Tatum played the entire second, third, and fourth quarters, plus OT.