Jayson Tatum's Rise to the Top

lovegtm

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I wonder whether Luka could have executed the adjustments Mazzulla dialed up against Dallas' minizone on Wednesday.

I think there's a future version of Luka who could, in the right ecosystem. But I don't think he really has that malleability and non heliocentric exploitation in his bag right now.
 

CreightonGubanich

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I wonder whether Luka could have executed the adjustments Mazzulla dialed up against Dallas' minizone on Wednesday.

I think there's a future version of Luka who could, in the right ecosystem. But I don't think he really has that malleability and non heliocentric exploitation in his bag right now.
It's not out of the question that Luka is destined to be this generation's version of Carmelo Anthony. He doesn't get the same level of criticism, because he's such a good passer, and I think Luka is better than Carmelo ever was. Getting to the Finals is more than Melo ever did, so I'm not really trying to denigrate Luka as much as it might sound. Still, in the sense of a guy who's super talented, and just needs to adapt his unbelievable talent and skillset in a way that's more conducive to winning basketball, but might never do it, I think it's a possibility.

I thought it was conceivable that a team could win a title with Anthony as their best player. I still do, somewhere in the multi-verse; he just needed to play differently, in a way that was entirely within his control, and he never did.
 

Euclis20

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Giannis is the millennial version of Shaq, at least in terms of play style. Next year will be his age 30 season. Shaq was 30 in 2003, and was still a top player for several more years (1st team all-NBA from 03-06, and was 2nd in MVP voting in 2005), but another injured playoff run and he likely loses his grip completely on the best active player title. Even considering how hard he seems to work to keep himself in shape, I don't see how he remains a top player (1st team level) into his mid 30s like so many guys seem to have done lately.

Despite Tatum's reliability and lack of any real weaknesses, it's really difficult to say that he's better or more impactful than Giannis right now, but we're at the point now where it's definitely not out of line to say you'd rather have Tatum going forward than Giannis. 4 years younger, definitely healthier and with a game that should age better, even non-celtics fans (with critical thinking skills) won't immediately brush that off. Of course when you play that game, everyone gets bumped down a spot for Wemby.
 

tims4wins

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Giannis is the millennial version of Shaq, at least in terms of play style. Next year will be his age 30 season. Shaq was 30 in 2003, and was still a top player for several more years (1st team all-NBA from 03-06, and was 2nd in MVP voting in 2005), but another injured playoff run and he likely loses his grip completely on the best active player title. Even considering how hard he seems to work to keep himself in shape, I don't see how he remains a top player (1st team level) into his mid 30s like so many guys seem to have done lately.

Despite Tatum's reliability and lack of any real weaknesses, it's really difficult to say that he's better or more impactful than Giannis right now, but we're at the point now where it's definitely not out of line to say you'd rather have Tatum going forward than Giannis. 4 years younger, definitely healthier and with a game that should age better, even non-celtics fans (with critical thinking skills) won't immediately brush that off. Of course when you play that game, everyone gets bumped down a spot for Wemby.
Yes, but.. Wemby isn’t close to Tatum’s current level. Yet.
 

Euclis20

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Yes, but.. Wemby isn’t close to Tatum’s current level. Yet.
True, but with him I don't think we're looking 5-6 years down the line. He's making all-NBA next year, and I'd put the over/under at 3.5 years for how long before he's better than Tatum (meaning I would be completely unsurprised if Wemby passes Tatum before Tatum passes Giannis). I'm still lower on his NBA future than I was with Lebron 20 years ago, but only because Lebron's injury risk seemed significantly lower. It's unbelievable how much he improved throughout the season. Just as an NBA fan, I'm begging for them to get him an all-star level point guard to truly start unlocking his game.
 

tims4wins

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True, but with him I don't think we're looking 5-6 years down the line. He's making all-NBA next year, and I'd put the over/under at 3.5 years for how long before he's better than Tatum (meaning I would be completely unsurprised if Wemby passes Tatum before Tatum passes Giannis). I'm still lower on his NBA future than I was with Lebron 20 years ago, but only because Lebron's injury risk seemed significantly lower. It's unbelievable how much he improved throughout the season. Just as an NBA fan, I'm begging for them to get him an all-star level point guard to truly start unlocking his game.
Agree, just saying I’m not making that trade today. Maybe in a year.
 

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@TripleOT JT as the best all around player in the league is the perfect description of him. Need to get that into SAS’ hands so he can play it off like he came up with it, like I’m going to.
I think it was @lovegtm , perhaps in the Mazullaball thread, who put it as some version of Jason Tatum is the best player for this team. Like, you need Tatum for what they’re doing to work; he’s the guy you would build a team like this around. So in a sense, it doesn’t even make sense to ask if other players are better than Tatum, is this is a Tatum Team.

Of course, I think he also said it wouldn’t work if they didn’t have the players to play five out, not work fully anyway. Which I think is pretty cool, the epitome of team basketball.
 

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I can’t find where else this was posted, but while obviously hysterical and wonderful, it needs to be pointed out:

View: https://twitter.com/3CsinAPod/status/1801415737434616180


He’s already emphasizing playing proper defense!!

I mean, I don’t hang out with a lot of professional athletes, but I’ve never seen anything like that with people playing with their kids. And Deuce, of course, is having a blast—and Jayson throws him a bone by telling him the shot didn’t go in so at least it was a successful challenge. :D
 

RorschachsMask

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I can’t find where else this was posted, but while obviously hysterical and wonderful, it needs to be pointed out:

View: https://twitter.com/3CsinAPod/status/1801415737434616180


He’s already emphasizing playing proper defense!!

I mean, I don’t hang out with a lot of professional athletes, but I’ve never seen anything like that with people playing with their kids. And Deuce, of course, is having a blast—and Jayson throws him a bone by telling him the shot didn’t go in so at least it was a successful challenge. :D
View: https://twitter.com/Mahcus_Smaht/status/1801430951848820927
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I can’t find where else this was posted, but while obviously hysterical and wonderful, it needs to be pointed out:

View: https://twitter.com/3CsinAPod/status/1801415737434616180


He’s already emphasizing playing proper defense!!

I mean, I don’t hang out with a lot of professional athletes, but I’ve never seen anything like that with people playing with their kids. And Deuce, of course, is having a blast—and Jayson throws him a bone by telling him the shot didn’t go in so at least it was a successful challenge. :D
It's been posted but it's always good to see again.

In the 3rd "All-in" there's a clip of DW shooting a ball into a hoop with his kid. His kid is automatic.
 

InstaFace

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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)
We did this a year ago, for the record, and the results were:

82% of SoSHers would trade him for Jokic
65% for Giannis (that number surely lower today than a year ago)
23% for Luka (!)
7% for Embiid
nobody else above 2%

Today, I bet Giannis gets like 30% but Wembanyama gets like 60-70%. Luka probably nowhere in sight.

I'm in the T-2nd camp, pending Wemby's rise. Tatum's biggest asset is his flexibility and well-roundedness - no skill of his is worse than "pretty good", and we've seen him be put into many different roles as the game or series or team injury situation dictated the need for it. You can build almost any kind of roster around Tatum. He's low-drama, high-chemistry. He's always available and seldom has an off night. He's both a GM's dream and a coach's dream. Who besides Jokic can that really be said about?
 

JakeRae

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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.
I really don’t understand this. What does the modifier “all around” add that makes the best all around player different from the best player? Like, is there some piece of the game that doesn’t matter to be the best player but does to be the best “all around” player? Is there some reweighting or balancing that happens? Is there a cutoff of you must be at least some level of good at some set of aspects of the game to qualify? That latter interpretation is how I’ve always parsed best “two way” player to make the label make any sense. Like, it means best player who is a plus offensive and defensive player (so it excludes anyone who is near average or worse on either end regardless of their net value). In other words, some guys like (probably) Jokic and (definitely) Doncic and Gobert simply aren’t two way players, so they drop out of the ranking entirely. (I’ve never found this concept to have value but this is the way I’ve made sense of it.)

Needless to say, as good as I think Tatum is, I think Jokic is clearly and (should be) indisputably better. Jokic is someone who is marching toward consideration as an inner circle/all-time great level player. I’m not sure he’ll get there and the fact that he may never get a chance to be paired with another HOF talent will limit his rings and harm his narrative, but he really is that good. Tatum simply isn’t close to that level even though he has a reasonable case for being the second best plater in the league.
 

BigSoxFan

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I love Giannis but I ain’t trading Tatum for a guy who turns 30 in Dec. Jokic is probably the only guy I’m trading him for without hesitation. Wemby is a guy who would make me think hard.

Luka? LOL
Embiid? LOL
Shai? Nah
Brunson? Not even close
Boomer? LOL
Lebron? Too old
Durant? Too old
Curry? Too old
Edwards? Nah
 

Ferm Sheller

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I love Giannis but I ain’t trading Tatum for a guy who turns 30 in Dec. Jokic is probably the only guy I’m trading him for without hesitation. Wemby is a guy who would make me think hard.

Luka? LOL
Embiid? LOL
Shai? Nah
Brunson? Not even close
Boomer? LOL
Lebron? Too old
Durant? Too old
Curry? Too old
Edwards? Nah
Jokic turns 30 in February.
 

lovegtm

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I’d trade him for Jokic, and probably Giannis.

Wemby is something I need to actually think about.
Given Giannis' age, recent injury history and play style, would you actually do it? Like gun to your head, Milwaukee has accepted, you have 15 minutes to decide.

I think most people here ultimately turn it down.

Jokic is an easy yes.
 

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Before trading Tatum, would probably want to check in with Jaylen and see how he feels about it, if he’s onboard. :p
 

lovegtm

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Before trading Tatum, would probably want to check in with Jaylen and see how he feels about it, if he’s onboard. :p
The real question: would you trade Tatum for Jaylen Brown, if that young stud somehow became available?
 

RorschachsMask

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Given Giannis' age, recent injury history and play style, would you actually do it? Like gun to your head, Milwaukee has accepted, you have 15 minutes to decide.

I think most people here ultimately turn it down.

Jokic is an easy yes.
It’s tough with Giannis. I think he has like two more years left as an absolute monster, and if he’s fully healthy, I’d say he probably increases their title odds next year, even if only a bit.

But when you take health and Tatum’s edge in the halfcourt into consideration, I’d have a tough time actually pulling the trigger.
 

Just a bit outside

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I’m sticking with my original answer.

Anyone 30 and over is out so it comes down to Giannis, Joker, Luka, SGA, Booker, and Wemby.

I think it is easier to find guards so SGA and Booker are out. I don't know what to make of Luka so he is out. I think Wemby is an injury risk so he is out.

That leaves Giannis and Joker.

Giannis is out because while he is amazing I hate his offensive game. I don't want to watch him run into people every game.

Joker is the toughest one as he is so much fun to watch.

I still lean to keeping Tatum as I think he hasn't reached his peak and at this point in my life I enjoy rooting for guys who stay with the same team. If I had never seen my team win I might feel differently but Tatum has grown up here and I want to see him win.
 

tims4wins

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We did this a year ago, for the record, and the results were:

82% of SoSHers would trade him for Jokic
65% for Giannis (that number surely lower today than a year ago)
23% for Luka (!)
7% for Embiid
nobody else above 2%

Today, I bet Giannis gets like 30% but Wembanyama gets like 60-70%. Luka probably nowhere in sight.

I'm in the T-2nd camp, pending Wemby's rise. Tatum's biggest asset is his flexibility and well-roundedness - no skill of his is worse than "pretty good", and we've seen him be put into many different roles as the game or series or team injury situation dictated the need for it. You can build almost any kind of roster around Tatum. He's low-drama, high-chemistry. He's always available and seldom has an off night. He's both a GM's dream and a coach's dream. Who besides Jokic can that really be said about?
Ha. There's me with the 3rd post in the thread. Stick by it. And I'm less sure today than I was a year ago.
Joker and Joker only. Excluding Giannis because skill level isn't close.
 

lovegtm

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It’s tough with Giannis. I think he has like two more years left as an absolute monster, and if he’s fully healthy, I’d say he probably increases their title odds next year, even if only a bit.

But when you take health and Tatum’s edge in the halfcourt into consideration, I’d have a tough time actually pulling the trigger.
Yeah, this is the thing. It's one thing to say "oh I might trade Giannis for Tatum", but quite another to actually work through the thought process and do it.

I think a similar thing happens (maybe with less hesitation before declining) for SGA, Luka, Ant, etc. It's hard, in the context of this roster, to find guys who can make the reads on both ends that Tatum can, and then execute based on that.
 

PedroKsBambino

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A year ago I think I took Luka, acknowledging the doubts about the rest of his game.

I don't think I'd do that anymore - another year and Luka is (to my eyes) possibly further away defensively and as a teammate - and another year of growth for Tatum particularly as a playmaker. But it remains closer for me than I expect it is for many here, and that's even acknowledging how awful Luka has been this series.
 

DavidTai

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It’s tough with Giannis. I think he has like two more years left as an absolute monster, and if he’s fully healthy, I’d say he probably increases their title odds next year, even if only a bit.

But when you take health and Tatum’s edge in the halfcourt into consideration, I’d have a tough time actually pulling the trigger.
This was linked earlier on reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/s/287qbH0nOe

Not sure I'd be comfortable going forward with that sort of range if accurate.
 

lovegtm

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This was linked earlier on reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/s/287qbH0nOe

Not sure I'd be comfortable going forward with that sort of range if accurate.
I can't downgrade his total performance in 2022 too much, because he and Jrue single-handledly pushed the Celtics to the brink.

However....the Bucks weren't particularly good offensively in that series, and did their best work by bludgeoning the Celtics and dragging the Cs into the mud. Giannis-led offenses have had serious issues at many times in playoff runs.

If he were better on the offensive end, it would have opened up options to keep Jrue while using their considerable draft equity on a less superstar offensive piece. His limitations are a big part of why they felt they had to swing for Dame (Giannis knows those limitations too, which is why he wanted the offensive upgrade over Jrue).
 

riboflav

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As someone who lived in SA during the time, it honestly feels more like the pre-Duncan Robinson years where DRob basically did everything but always got criticized by guys like Jim Rome for being too “soft”, “nice”, “not clutch”, etc. I will say that Tatum’s temperament does remind me a lot of Duncan though. Just a quiet stabilizing force.
Catching up finally.

Yeah, I meant it mostly as some of us like to call JT, the Duncan of wings. I think Duncan is the better player so far and has the larger legacy so far no doubt. But, they're very similar in demeanor and all-around Swiss army knife, understated game. But, yes, Robinson was crucified for years for a lot of the same adjectives that Tatum is.
 

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That’s quite a conmercial to film before it was over. Woof.
 

kfoss99

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I'm going to be m'f'n petty. I'll post this in the Brown thread, too.

Tatum is now qualitatively better than Reggie Miller, Barkley, Stockton & Malone, Chris Paul, Embid, and Luka.
 

JCizzle

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I'm so damn happy for JT. Such an undeserved amount of hate sent his way and he can give them all the finger.
 

BigJimEd

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Brown was excellent but agree Tatum deserved the MVP.

Tatum just so happy to be champion though
 

lexrageorge

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Deserved the MVP. Great series for Tatum, despite the media’s strange campaign against him.
Tatum played a big part in Brown winning the MVP. As I mentioned in the game thread, it just means that Brown will need to return the favor in 2025!!
 

Fishercat

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A lot of players say they truly only care about winning, very few have backed it up like Tatum has this season.
I feel like there are a lot of players near the top of these best player lists who wouldn't be nearly as selfless as he is.

When NBA Metrics get better as the years go on I think it'll be kind to him
 

Auger34

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Tatum was great tonight. He’s the best player on the team and he truly just wanted to win.
I don’t think he deserved to win the MVP and I think it’s pretty fucking ridiculous to suggest there was some media cabal that wanted Brown to win because they hate Tatum but whatever.
Celtics can win next year and Tatum can win finals MVP and we can bitch about Brown not winning