Jayson Tatum's Rise to the Top

RorschachsMask

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I’m very consistent, I don’t care about a few missed shots in the 4th, on mostly broken plays.

The first three quarters were so massive, and he once against made Lively a non factor. He also locked Luka the hell up after giving up a few baskets early.
 

BigSoxFan

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I’m very consistent, I don’t care about a few missed shots in the 4th, on mostly broken plays.

The first three quarters were so massive, and he once against made Lively a non factor. He also locked Luka the hell up after giving up a few baskets early.
Tatum set the tone for this team and that’s what stars do. 20 first half points when I think the next highest guy had 8 or 9. Brown was the closer but Tatum put the team in position to build a big lead.
 

Auger34

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This was a real rollercoaster game for Tatum.

The first 5 and a half minutes of the game, he was bad (including a play where he dribbled the ball off of his knee directly to a Mavs player leading to a fastbreak)

From that point on until the end of the 3rd quarter he was awesome. The 3 pointer looked as good as it’s looked in a long time.

Then the 4th quarter started and he was….decidedly not good. He had one incredibly clutch play where he caught a bad Derrick White pass, somehow held onto the ball and dunked it. Other than that, he was wretched.

Like I said, it definitely had some real highs and some real lows
 

RorschachsMask

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This was a real rollercoaster game for Tatum.

The first 5 and a half minutes of the game, he was bad (including a play where he dribbled the ball off of his knee directly to a Mavs player leading to a fastbreak)

From that point on until the end of the 3rd quarter he was awesome. The 3 pointer looked as good as it’s looked in a long time.

Then the 4th quarter started and he was….decidedly not good. He had one incredibly clutch play where he caught a bad Derrick White pass, somehow held onto the ball and dunked it. Other than that, he was wretched.

Like I said, it definitely had some real highs and some real lows
The whole team had ups and downs tonight, but like it doesn’t matter lol.

This team is one win from the title.
 

Auger34

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The whole team had ups and downs tonight, but like it doesn’t matter lol.

This team is one win from the title.
Just writing out a summary of what I thought was an interesting game by Tatum while it’s fresh in my mind. Think it’s context beyond what you would see in the box score, wasn’t intending to drag your boy. Overall, I think it was a solid game from him

As you said, one win away from the title. Thats all that matters.
 

lexrageorge

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This was a real rollercoaster game for Tatum.

The first 5 and a half minutes of the game, he was bad (including a play where he dribbled the ball off of his knee directly to a Mavs player leading to a fastbreak)

From that point on until the end of the 3rd quarter he was awesome. The 3 pointer looked as good as it’s looked in a long time.

Then the 4th quarter started and he was….decidedly not good. He had one incredibly clutch play where he caught a bad Derrick White pass, somehow held onto the ball and dunked it. Other than that, he was wretched.

Like I said, it definitely had some real highs and some real lows
He, and his teammates, missed some open 3's in the 4th; had even 1 of them gone in, our view of his game likely changes.
 

RorschachsMask

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Just writing out a summary of what I thought was an interesting game by Tatum while it’s fresh in my mind. Think it’s context beyond what you would see in the box score, wasn’t intending to drag your boy. Overall, I think it was a solid game from him

As you said, one win away from the title. Thats all that matters.
31/6/5 with 2 TO’s and plus defense in a monster finals game is still 31/6/5 with plus defense in a monster finals game lol.

First half matters just as much as the second half. None of these guys will be great for 40 minutes, just about doing what’s enough.

I’m just ecstatic that we are two nights away from a possible title celebration lol.
 

Auger34

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31/6/5 with 2 TO’s and plus defense in a monster finals game is still 31/6/5 with plus defense in a monster finals game lol.

First half matters just as much as the second half. None of these guys will be great for 40 minutes, just about doing what’s enough.

I’m just ecstatic that we are two nights away from a possible title celebration lol.
I’ll just echo something similar to your post to my original post.

A very good team win and they are only one away
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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If the Celtics win, Tatum is my MVP for this series even though it may well go to Jaylen who also has a strong case. JT's shooting has been rough overall but he dominates the game in every other facet. He has been great at on the ball defense, rim protection, rebounding and creating for others.

Jaylen is deserving for his scoring and D however Tatum is doing whatever the team needs on a given night whether its play the five, fight for boards, set up teammates or get a timely bucket. In short, he impacts the game more to my eyes (and in rebounding and assists).

Also, he isn't at his ceiling. Its exciting to imagine what that might look like.
 

nighthob

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I'm rooting for him to put in 30 points when Boston wins the title on Friday, just to increase the suffering of Laker fans.
 

kfoss99

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Such a winning play by Tatum to muscle in to get that ball.

I'm glad someone posted that clip because it encapsulated what we love about JT. The national media can fawn or dunk on Luka, but they need to celebrate Tatum more because he makes plays like that.

It felt like the offensive equivalent of Jordan stripping Malone and was just as important.
 

m0ckduck

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Alright, I've heard so many "Tatum is not a top-6 player" declarations in the past week that I'm prepared to go there. (Even if part of me feels like the best tribute to this particular team and to Tatum himself would be to abstain from such STARZ rankings altogether).

Consensus Players Above Tatum (CPAT) whom I agree with (at least in the context of 'right now'):
  • Jokic
  • Giannis
CPAT whom I don't necessarily agree with, but will cede:
  • SGA (I have him as a push with Tatum)
  • Doncic (whatever, has been discussed enough)
Guys who should never be listed as CPAT but annoyingly often are:
  • Embiid
  • Kawhii <-- The best version of either of these guys is better than JT. But until we actually see the best version of either for a full postseason, both should be banned from further discussion. They're never healthy and fully effective when it matters.
Then, there's a bunch of CPET guys (Consensus Players Equal to Tatum) who are considered in the same tier:
  • Ant
  • Brunson
  • Curry
  • AD
  • Durant
  • Lebron
  • Booker
  • Wemby
  • JB (just kidding,.. kinda)
The younger guys on this list (Wemby, Ant, conceivably Brunson or Booker) could pass JT as soon as next year if they take a big step forward (edit: don't think it's at all likely from Booker or Brunson, just being charitable). I can squint and see the AD argument if he continues to rack up a few more healthy seasons. Steph, Durant and Lebron have all had better seasons than peak JT in the past, but are on the wrong side of the mountain. At the moment, I don't have any of them above Tatum or even quite his equal.

In summary: I have him in a 3-6 group that consists of (in no particular order): SGA, Tatum, Ant, Luka (with Luka my most likely omission from the group).
 
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lexrageorge

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Alright, I've heard so many "Tatum is not a top-6 player" declarations in the past week that I'm prepared to go there. (Even if part of me feels like the best tribute to this particular team and to Tatum himself would be to abstain from such STARZ rankings altogether).

Consensus Players Above Tatum (CPAT) whom I agree with (at least in the context of 'right now'):
  • Jokic
  • Giannis
CPAT whom I don't necessarily agree with, but will cede:
  • SGA (I have him as a push with Tatum)
  • Doncic (whatever, has been discussed enough)
Guys who should never be listed as CPAT but annoyingly often are:
  • Embiid
  • Kawhii <-- The best version of either of these guys is better than JT. But until we actually see the best version of either for a full postseason, both should be banned from further discussion. They're never healthy and fully effective when it matters.
Then, there's a bunch of CPET guys (Consensus Players Equal to Tatum) who are considered in the same tier:
  • Ant
  • Brunson
  • Curry
  • AD
  • Durant
  • Lebron
  • Booker
  • Wemby
  • JB (just kidding,.. kinda)
The younger guys on this list (Wemby, Ant, conceivably Brunson or Booker) could pass JT as soon as next year if they take a big step forward. I could squint and see the AD argument if he continues to wrack up a few more healthy seasons. Steph, Durant and Lebron have all had better seasons than peak JT in the past, but are on the wrong side of the mountain. At the moment, I don't have any of them above Tatum or even quite his equal.

In summary: I have him in a 3-6 group that consists of (in no particular order): SGA, Tatum, Ant, Luka (with Luka my most likely omission from the group).
Not at all convinced that Booker is going to pass Tatum. He is 18 months older than Tatum and had a worse 3-point shooting season than Tatum this past season. They may be both equally efficient, and certainly demand the attention of the opponent's defense. But Tatum is a much better rebounder and a better defender and overall a bigger player.

Same with Brunson. He can certainly put the ball in the hole, but again it seems like he is at his peak. That may be a peak that lasts for a while, but he gives up 6" to Tatum and so again he'll never be the defensive force that Tatum is.

Both the advanced metrics and the voters had Tatum firmly entrenched in first team All-NBA this season. So anyone claiming he is not a Top 6 player is simply refusing to acknowledge reality. There could yet be seasons where Tatum is lower ranked, either due to injury or usage or just statistical chance, but I do believe Tatum's place among the league's elite is well established at this point.
 

m0ckduck

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Not at all convinced that Booker is going to pass Tatum. He is 18 months older than Tatum and had a worse 3-point shooting season than Tatum this past season. They may be both equally efficient, and certainly demand the attention of the opponent's defense. But Tatum is a much better rebounder and a better defender and overall a bigger player.

Same with Brunson. He can certainly put the ball in the hole, but again it seems like he is at his peak. That may be a peak that lasts for a while, but he gives up 6" to Tatum and so again he'll never be the defensive force that Tatum is.
Re: Brunson and Booker, I don't think it's at all likely either. That's why I wrote 'conceivably'.

Both the advanced metrics and the voters had Tatum firmly entrenched in first team All-NBA this season. So anyone claiming he is not a Top 6 player is simply refusing to acknowledge reality. There could yet be seasons where Tatum is lower ranked, either due to injury or usage or just statistical chance, but I do believe Tatum's place among the league's elite is well established at this point.
Amen.
 

BaseballJones

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If this series somehow is used to drop Tatum down the list, it should be causing Doncic to plummet. But that won’t happen, will it?
 

kfoss99

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Tatum has been first team all-NBA two years in a row. He's on the precipice of a championship. He's remained healthy. That's good evidence that he's a top 5 player.

Win the championship and all the ranking talk is noise.
 

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I can't agree with anyone but Joker. Maybe there are several guys who are all T-2 with Tatum. But you're telling me you'd take Giannis over him, given age, injury, and (ahem) his lack of skill?

Said differently, it might be a slightly different conversation that I am speaking to, but if you're creating a trade rankings list... I'm not trading Tatum for anyone but Joker (edit: or possibly Wemby)
 

m0ckduck

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if you're creating a trade rankings list... I'm not trading Tatum for anyone but Joker (edit: or possibly Wemby)
It's not a trade ranking list per se. It's about: if you (generic media person) are going to say Tatum isn't top-6, then who are 6 players you could reasonably have above him? I assume that when most pundits make this claim, they are talking about current value (not trade rankings), so I'm trying to rank players on the same terms as whatever the hell they are talking about.

Edit: I do think Giannis has become a touch underrated b/c he's been such a steady presence on the top players list and hasn't been to a Finals in a while, so observers have become a bit accustomed/numb to him. I'm comfortable placing his 2023-24 season above Tatum's.
 

BaseballJones

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I can't agree with anyone but Joker. Maybe there are several guys who are all T-2 with Tatum. But you're telling me you'd take Giannis over him, given age, injury, and (ahem) his lack of skill?

Said differently, it might be a slightly different conversation that I am speaking to, but if you're creating a trade rankings list... I'm not trading Tatum for anyone but Joker (edit: or possibly Wemby)
With Brown’s emergence, I’d 100% trade Tatum straight up for Wemby. Tatum is better now but it won’t be long before Wemby is the best player in the world.
 

Justthetippett

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I don't understand how SGA > Tatum became conventional wisdom.
Boredom? SGA has an amazingly smooth and effective offensive game. People over emphasize grace and aesthetics, I feel like. Tatum's shot is a little unconventional, he initiates and plays through contact, which is not always pretty so he must not be as good. It's dumb but so is the general practice of ranking guys instead of just going with tiers, in my opinion.
 

TripleOT

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Seeing Luka exposed in the Finals as a huge liability on defense should get more people to question ranking him as the second best player in the league.

Tatum has been downgraded in status by his poor shooting in the 2022 Finals, but he got his team a couple of wins. Will Luka’s inability to defend, along with his fourth quarter failures, downgrade his status?

I might be an outlier, but I prefer Tatum and his all around brilliance over Luka.
 

lovegtm

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Does SGA do anything better than Tatum, besides shooting %? I'm pretty confident I'd take Tatum as a playmaker.

Giannis had an amazing 2021 run; no one can ever take that from him. He also has a clear offensive ceiling in the playoffs, one that has been exploited in all the non 2021 postseasons. I don't think he is in Jokic's universe, and age+new NBA foul rules are going to take their toll.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Somewhere in this thread I broke down Tatum vs Embiid in terms of minutes played and games played. The gap has only grown wider this year.

I'll put it simply: there is a reasonable case for Embiid being better on a per-minute basis than Tatum, especially last year and this year. It is not definite, but credible. However, given their ability to stay on the court (in a single game, and across a season) there literally is not a credible case for Embiid being more valuable than Tatum over the course of an actual (not theoretical healthy) season. The number of replacement-level minutes you play - in game, and in-season--simply swamp any advantage you believe Embiid may have per-minute. And it is not analytically an arguable point.

The same is true for Kawhi at this point.

If it were Game 7 of finals and all were fully healthy I understand putting Tatum third. But that is not, based on track record, the question people are really asking aroud 'best' - they are asking it at the season level. And there simply isn't a credible argument for next year that either Embiid or Kawhi will play enough to be in the discussion with Tatum.
 

The Social Chair

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Boredom? SGA has an amazingly smooth and effective offensive game. People over emphasize grace and aesthetics, I feel like. Tatum's shot is a little unconventional, he initiates and plays through contact, which is not always pretty so he must not be as good. It's dumb but so is the general practice of ranking guys instead of just going with tiers, in my opinion.
As far as aesthetics, SGA foul hunts, like Luka/Harden, a little too much for my liking.

I'd also like to note that Tatum and Brown got way more shit for losing in the bubble at 21 years old than OKC got for losing in the 2nd round as the #1 seed. SGA is also 26 and in his prime as a guard.
 

Justthetippett

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As far as aesthetics, SGA foul hunts, like Luka/Harden, a little too much for my liking.

I'd also like to note that Tatum and Brown got way more shit for losing in the bubble at 21 years old than OKC got for losing in the 2nd round as the #1 seed. SGA is also 26 and in his prime as a guard.
Def fair, but you only get to see the foul hunting if you watch complete games and don't rely on highlights, which most commentators and almost all fans do.

OKC is definitely being graded on a curve as the plucky small market team. There's an Oakland As thing going on there. They could have just kept Harden and done the what almost every team has to do to win: run a red balance sheet for a few years. But they didn't, probably never will, and now there's a perception that they are the ahead of schedule underdog. Problem for them is there's a freight train coming down the tracks from San Antonio, Denver has some time in their window, and Minnesota can beat them up. So ahead of schedule might be their only option.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Somewhere in this thread I broke down Tatum vs Embiid in terms of minutes played and games played. The gap has only grown wider this year.

I'll put it simply: there is a reasonable case for Embiid being better on a per-minute basis than Tatum, especially last year and this year. It is not definite, but credible. However, given their ability to stay on the court (in a single game, and across a season) there literally is not a credible case for Embiid being more valuable than Tatum over the course of an actual (not theoretical healthy) season. The number of replacement-level minutes you play - in game, and in-season--simply swamp any advantage you believe Embiid may have per-minute. And it is not analytically an arguable point.

The same is true for Kawhi at this point.

If it were Game 7 of finals and all were fully healthy I understand putting Tatum third. But that is not, based on track record, the question people are really asking aroud 'best' - they are asking it at the season level. And there simply isn't a credible argument for next year that either Embiid or Kawhi will play enough to be in the discussion with Tatum.
This is also true for JT versus Giannis. Giannis is showing some wear and tear on his body.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I'd also like to note that Tatum and Brown got way more shit for losing in the bubble at 21 years old than OKC got for losing in the 2nd round as the #1 seed. SGA is also 26 and in his prime as a guard.
I wonder if JT would be graded more highly if people saw him as a 6'9" point guard (which I understand that he grew up as) rather than a wing.

This is spoken like a true PG.
 

lovegtm

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I wonder if JT would be graded more highly if people saw him as a 6'9" point guard (which I understand that he grew up as) rather than a wing.



This is spoken like a true PG.
People don't understand how basketball offense works, so they need big assist numbers to treat someone as a PG.

There are probably some out there who think Sabonis is a better playmaker than Tatum.
 

tims4wins

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Def fair, but you only get to see the foul hunting if you watch complete games and don't rely on highlights, which most commentators and almost all fans do.

OKC is definitely being graded on a curve as the plucky small market team. There's an Oakland As thing going on there. They could have just kept Harden and done the what almost every team has to do to win: run a red balance sheet for a few years. But they didn't, probably never will, and now there's a perception that they are the ahead of schedule underdog. Problem for them is there's a freight train coming down the tracks from San Antonio, Denver has some time in their window, and Minnesota can beat them up. So ahead of schedule might be their only option.
Absolutely on OKC being graded on a curve.
This is also true for JT versus Giannis. Giannis is showing some wear and tear on his body.
100% agree.
I wonder if JT would be graded more highly if people saw him as a 6'9" point guard (which I understand that he grew up as) rather than a wing.



This is spoken like a true PG.
Yep.
 

m0ckduck

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This is also true for JT versus Giannis. Giannis is showing some wear and tear on his body.
I'll push back a little: Giannis could be on the downward slope of age-and-injury related decline. He's been hurt the past two postseasons but did play 73 games last season. With Embiid, the trend is overwhelmingly clear, and onus is on him at this point to prove he can actually play a healthy postseason (or make a conference finals, for that matter). I don't feel these two are at all the same (yet).

If we don't assume that Giannis is yet in decline, the raw numbers are still insane: 61.1% FG, 11.5 REB, 6.5 AST, 30.4 PPG with all-NBA level defense. I judge that a tick better than Tatum nonwithstanding GA's limitations as a shooter (FT and 3PT). DARKO agrees, has them basically as even but GA a bit better.

Giannis had an amazing 2021 run; no one can ever take that from him. He also has a clear offensive ceiling in the playoffs, one that has been exploited in all the non 2021 postseasons.
He looked bad vs the Heat in 2023, but that was three games, and he was hurt. I don't really see how he was successfully 'exploited' in 2022— it took 7 games and a barrage of Grant Williams threes to beat him even with Middleton sidelined. His postseason play has generally been very good with the exception of 2023.
 

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Tatum is the best all around player in the league. Kawhi might be in the conversation , but he’s more out of service than Pervis. The lack of national respect for Tatum, who has been first team All-NBA player three consecutive seasons, is ridiculous.

Tatum can credibly guard 1-5 at a high level. He can rebound like a big. He can be a volume scorer if needed, as evidenced by his multiple 50+ point games. He can score at all three levels. He can run an offense and pass the basketball, as we have seen in his skillful ball moment to defeat defensive focus in these playoffs. He never wants to miss even a single game.

What other superstar can do those things? LeBron could when younger, but probably can’t contain PGs now. Kawhi is never available. Giannis can’t shoot the three, and also is injured often. SGA can’t defend at JT’s level. Luka can’t defend at all. Embiid can’t stay healthy, and despite his considerably offensive bag, can’t lead his team deep 8th the playoffs. Durant is a great all around player, but Tatum surpassed him a season ago.

Jokic is the best player in the league, due to his otherworldly offensive greatness, but isn’t a defender on the same level as JT. I can see the argument that his greatness offensively over JT mitigates the gap in defensive prowess, and he’s the best all around player, but I have to disagree.

Once Tatum gets his ring, I think we will see the national narrative around him slowly change, especially when he makes first team All-NBA again next season. If he goes off and has one of those Tatum monster scoring games in Game four and Boston wins, that narrative might begrudgingly change a bit quicker.
 

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I'll push back a little: Giannis could be on the downward slope of age-and-injury related decline. He's been hurt the past two postseasons but did play 73 games last season. With Embiid, the trend is overwhelmingly clear, and onus is on him at this point to prove he can actually play a healthy postseason (or make a conference finals, for that matter). I don't feel these two are at all the same (yet).

If we don't assume that Giannis is yet in decline, the raw numbers are still insane: 61.1% FG, 11.5 REB, 6.5 AST, 30.4 PPG with all-NBA level defense. I judge that a tick better than Tatum nonwithstanding GA's limitations as a shooter (FT and 3PT). DARKO agrees, has them basically as even but GA a bit better.


He looked bad vs the Heat in 2023, but that was three games, and he was hurt. I don't really see how he was successfully 'exploited' in 2022— it took 7 games and a barrage of Grant Williams threes to beat him even with Middleton sidelined. His postseason play has generally been very good with the exception of 2023.
He's played 3 playoff games in the last 2 years.

Tatum has played 37 (38 tonight).
 

bosockboy

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Tatum is the best all around player in the league. Kawhi might be in the conversation , but he’s more out of service than Pervis. The lack of national respect for Tatum, who has been first team All-NBA player three consecutive seasons, is ridiculous.

Tatum can credibly guard 1-5 at a high level. He can rebound like a big. He can be a volume scorer if needed, as evidenced by his multiple 50+ point games. He can score at all three levels. He can run an offense and pass the basketball, as we have seen in his skillful ball moment to defeat defensive focus in these playoffs. He never wants to miss even a single game.

What other superstar can do those things? LeBron could when younger, but probably can’t contain PGs now. Kawhi is never available. Giannis can’t shoot the three, and also is injured often. SGA can’t defend at JT’s level. Luka can’t defend at all. Embiid can’t stay healthy, and despite his considerably offensive bag, can’t lead his team deep 8th the playoffs. Durant is a great all around player, but Tatum surpassed him a season ago.

Jokic is the best player in the league, due to his otherworldly offensive greatness, but isn’t a defender on the same level as JT. I can see the argument that his greatness offensively over JT mitigates the gap in defensive prowess, and he’s the best all around player, but I have to disagree.

Once Tatum gets his ring, I think we will see the national narrative around him slowly change, especially when he makes first team All-NBA again next season. If he goes off and has one of those Tatum monster scoring games in Game four and Boston wins, that narrative might begrudgingly change a bit quicker.
Stating it again, but he’s the Tim Duncan of wings.
 

TripleOT

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It’s crazy that Brunson is well over a year older than Tatum. Also

View: https://twitter.com/3CsinAPod/status/1801415737434616180
I used to hate when NBA players would bring the kids to the games and press conferences, probably because of Jason Kidd and his kid, but Deuce Tatum is so adorable that I’m now ok with it. We got to watch JT grow up as an NBA player and we’ve got to watch his son just grow up. I hope they give Duece a little championship ring.
 

TripleOT

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Stating it again, but he’s the Tim Duncan of wings.
I like that comparison. Like Tatum, Tim was drafted on a championship ready team, despite the skillful tankjob that Pop engineered the year before he was drafted. Unlike Tatum, he didn’t start his career on a team with a dysfunctional roster, and played from the jump with another true superstar. They are both fundamentally sound, but not particularly flashy.

Duncan didn’t get the kind of acclaim that he deserved when playing.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I'll push back a little: Giannis could be on the downward slope of age-and-injury related decline. He's been hurt the past two postseasons but did play 73 games last season. With Embiid, the trend is overwhelmingly clear, and onus is on him at this point to prove he can actually play a healthy postseason (or make a conference finals, for that matter). I don't feel these two are at all the same (yet).
According to this article - Giannis Antetokounmpo injury history during his NBA career with Bucks (jsonline.com) - prior to 2018-19, Giannis did not miss consecutive games for any reason.

The article lists all of his injuries since January 2018. There are a lot of them. I mean I'm wasting my time anticipating the game tonight, but I'm not bored enough to try to copy and paste them all.

I'd be super concerned if I were MIL.
 

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According to this article - Giannis Antetokounmpo injury history during his NBA career with Bucks (jsonline.com) - prior to 2018-19, Giannis did not miss consecutive games for any reason.

The article lists all of his injuries since January 2018. There are a lot of them. I mean I'm wasting my time anticipating the game tonight, but I'm not bored enough to try to copy and paste them all.

I'd be super concerned if I were MIL.
Also that article is over a year old and doesn't include his 2024 injuries!
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Mar 26, 2005
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I like that comparison. Like Tatum, Tim was drafted on a championship ready team, despite the skillful tankjob that Pop engineered the year before he was drafted. Unlike Tatum, he didn’t start his career on a team with a dysfunctional roster, and played from the jump with another true superstar. They are both fundamentally sound, but not particularly flashy.

Duncan didn’t get the kind of acclaim that he deserved when playing.
I think the biggest reason that JT doesn't get the respect he deserves (BTW, I'd put him as 2nd best all-around player in the NBA as Jokic is good enough on defense that his otherworldly offensive skills make him better) is that he's not like any other player who has come before him. He's not a PG that sprays flashy assists all over the place like Magic. He's not a surreal shooter/scorer like Bird and Curry (etc.). He's not an otherwordly-athlete like MJ or LBJ (etc.). He's not Kobe either (thank God).

Tim Duncan is a good comparison but Tim was someone who SAS could throw the ball to and get out of his way. JT isn't like that.

But his main strength is that he has no weakness. He's good to great at every aspect of basketball. I'm sure in 15 years, we'll be asking if someone is the next Jayson Tatum because people will recognize the uniqueness of what he brings (although I'm sure he'll get dinged in the all-time lists).

It's also fitting that this team is characterized as one without any weaknesses.
 

bigq

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Jul 15, 2005
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Seeing Luka exposed in the Finals as a huge liability on defense should get more people to question ranking him as the second best player in the league.

Tatum has been downgraded in status by his poor shooting in the 2022 Finals, but he got his team a couple of wins. Will Luka’s inability to defend, along with his fourth quarter failures, downgrade his status?

I might be an outlier, but I prefer Tatum and his all around brilliance over Luka.
Agree with you. Also Luka’s 4th quarter performance throughout the Finals has been awful. 2.7 points per 4th quarter with 20% FG%, 0% from three and nearly 2 turnovers. In addition to being a traffic cone on defense his reputation as a clutch 4th quarter performer has taken a hit.
 

CreightonGubanich

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Dec 13, 2006
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north shore, MA
I really wanted to make a Scottie Pippen comparison. Pippen was a top-10 player in the league for a while, and he showed what he could do as a passer in the absence of Jordan. In some ways, it's an interesting thought experiment, whether you could have built a championship contender around Pippen in his prime.

But looking at the numbers, even accounting for differences in era, I don't think that's fair to JT. Even though he's not in the same tier as a shot creator as Luka or LeBron, or even prime Durant, he's so far ahead of Pippen in creating offense that the comparison falls apart.