Tatum or Ant?

Who would you rather build your team around?


  • Total voters
    232

Kliq

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This came up briefly during a Simmons/Russillo podcast, that if you could pick between Jayson Tatum or Anthony Edwards to build your team around, who would you choose? Simmons quickly said Edwards, pointing out that he was only 22 and that would have to be considered the deciding factor.

I personally find the Edwards hype to have gotten just a little out of control, and so I'll pose this question to SoSH.
 

Devizier

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You could project Edwards to reach Tatum’s peak, but projection is far from assured. So even with the age difference it’s Tatum.
 

jezza1918

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Doesn't some of this have to do with where a respective team is at as well? The Celtics, right now, would want Tatum over Ant. And Id argue the TWolves are close enough that they'd also want Tatum over Ant. I mean quite frankly IMO any team should take Tatum over him, but I can see an argument for a team that is rebuilding for going with Ant, even if I dont agree with it.
 

m0ckduck

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Simmons quickly said Edwards
Having listened to the segment, I would push back on this a bit. He took a deep, pained breath and delivered the verdict like "I don't want to pick against Tatum, but I have to."

You could project Edwards to reach Tatum’s peak, but projection is far from assured. So even with the age difference it’s Tatum.
I don't know. Edwards is definitely on a similar trajectory– eerily so:
80866
I think most GMs would pick Ant.

The silly thing to me was Simmons and Russilo arguing whether Wemby should be the pick over both of them. He's been absolutely amazing of course, but the durability concerns are too real for me. I'd still easily take Ant or Tatum at this point.

Edit: funny that JakeRae and I used the same plot to support opposite conclusions. Good times.
 

JakeRae

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They have very similar early career trajectories, but Tatum has the next stage of improvement already cemented and is in his true prime.

80865
 

Kliq

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Having listened to the segment, I would push back on this a bit. He took a deep, pained breath and delivered the verdict like "I don't want to pick against Tatum, but I have to."
He did do that, which is fair. It was more like they didn't have a real discussion about it, Simmons just summarized that Edwards' youth gives him the edge.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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A Tatum in the hand is worth two Ants in the bush, I think. Not everyone keeps getting better. Tatum has shown a nearly unprecedented ability to improve just about every aspect of his game for 7 straight years. There’s no way to assume any other player can do something similar.
 

bigq

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Tatum is better on both sides of the ball. He is 4" taller than Edwards and can credibly guard 1-5. Edwards is 3+ years younger. Tatum is the better player to build around today but that could change in a couple/few years.
 

SteveF

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I'd take Wemby over both without hesitation.

Edwards has pressured the rim more than Tatum because of his superior quickness/first step, at least in the past. Tatum plays in the superior offensive spacing/ecosystem so it's hard to compare them straight up. You've got to mentally compensate. Neither player is particularly good in the midrange, though Edwards has more time to improve. Tatum is and has been the more efficient offensive player, but age so who knows where Edwards goes. Both players take shots they shouldn't take, I think partly because of their playmaking limitations relative to the elite players (and partly because of the aforementioned badness in the midrange).

Tatum is more defensively versatile/impactful because of his size.

Edwards seems to be the slightly more intuitive player, so I feel like the playmaking might end up at a higher level than Tatum. I won't say Tatum has stalled, but he's at the point where the low hanging fruit for him isn't doing drills with Hanlen but improving his mental processing of the game and guys just don't do that in the offseason. Not specific or even relevant to Tatum, but how do guys practice e.g. off ball defense in the offseason? They don't. So I'd prefer the guy have good feel and hopefully that develops more quickly with in game reps.

Tatum is the better player right now, but I could see it flipping the other way in a year pretty easily. Or, you know. Not.

I don't see either guy as ever being a top 3/MVP type player.

Edit: I guess my final verdict is that this is a coin flip. Edwards might be better in the future, but I don't think so much better that you'd kick yourself for picking Tatum over him, especially given Tatum is probably slightly better right now.
Edit2: The Jordan comparisons are batshit insane. Media types should put that down and walk away slowly.
 
Last edited:

tims4wins

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I am hard pressed to see how this is a serious argument. Tatum's 4 inches of height is a HUGE factor here.

Also, because everyone is so obsessed at Ant's age 22 season, let's compare it to Tatum's 4th / age 22 season. So you can see, the numbers are remarkably similar.

However,
1) Tatum through 4 years shot .396 from 3. Ant career to date is only .355
2) The rebounding and defensive versatility are huge factors in favor of Tatum

There is a chance that Ant becomes almost as good as Tatum. I highly doubt he ever becomes better, and I highly doubt he ever becomes more valuable due to the size gap.

Category Tatum Ant
MP 35.8 35.2
FG% .459 .462
3P% .386 .362
PPG 26.4 26.3
eFG% .530 .524
FT% .868 .833
RB 7.4 5.5
AST 4.3 5.2
STL 1.2 1.3
 

Auger34

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I'd take Tatum because of the advantages he has with his defense and versatility. It's pretty close to me though.

However, I think I would take Wemby over both of them. Honestly, I am not sure if I would take anyone over Wemby in a "franchise draft". The age difference between him and Jokic/Giannis/Tatum is real
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Kind of depends on who else is on the team. If the team has KP, JB, Jrue, and DW, then you want Tatum.

But if a team is on a more future timeline, one might be able to see how Ant might work better. Say HOU.
 

Jimbodandy

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Deep diving this a little, it's actually a fantastic question. Edwards continues to improve and has become a force.

That said, I'd rather have the 6'8" guy with the wingspan. Defense matters. And being able not only to go around guys but also to go through guys.
 

Auger34

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I don't mean to hijack the thread but to expand upon this, if there was a draft tomorrow where every player were available and on identical 5 year contracts, what would your top 10 look like?

IMO
Jokic
Giannis
Wemby
Tatum
SGA
Edwards
Luka
Booker
Haliburton
Jalen Williams (?)

Honestly, after the top 9 it's really damn hard
 

Kliq

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I think in these discussions Tatum's playoff resume is taken for granted. Tatum has dominated playoff series, outplayed elite guys like Durant and Embiid, and led his team to an NBA Finals appearance and several conference finals. Edwards could build that kind of a resume over the next few years, but he hasn't done that yet (the same can be said for SGA, who is older than Edwards). The playoffs are different, it is a lot harder to score and to dominate over the course of a long series. I feel more confident in a player like Tatum, who has shown that ability, than players who have yet to do that.

Tatum has better teammates than Edwards. I do think Edwards' defensive improvement has largely been tied to a healthy Gobert this year, which allows him to be a lot more physical and aggressive on the perimeter because of the security of having that kind of rim protector behind him.
 

Devizier

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There were people who would have traded anyone for Wemby last year, so I don’t think it’s even worth discussing.
 

lovegtm

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I think in these discussions Tatum's playoff resume is taken for granted. Tatum has dominated playoff series, outplayed elite guys like Durant and Embiid, and led his team to an NBA Finals appearance and several conference finals. Edwards could build that kind of a resume over the next few years, but he hasn't done that yet (the same can be said for SGA, who is older than Edwards). The playoffs are different, it is a lot harder to score and to dominate over the course of a long series. I feel more confident in a player like Tatum, who has shown that ability, than players who have yet to do that.

Tatum has better teammates than Edwards. I do think Edwards' defensive improvement has largely been tied to a healthy Gobert this year, which allows him to be a lot more physical and aggressive on the perimeter because of the security of having that kind of rim protector behind him.
I say it over and over, but Tatum is somehow dinged vs. guys like SGA (despite being the same age), because......he's played in a lot more playoff games? Tatum has more playoff series wins than Giannis, and if it weren't for KD's toe on the line, it wouldn't be remotely close.

He also has been ridiculous in impact metrics his whole career, in any context, which matches the eye test.

There are guys who are better than Tatum, but it's a short list.
 

radsoxfan

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Unless you think Ant is as good as Tatum right now, it makes no sense to take Ant.

The reason age matters is because of projection and improvement, not because you’re trying to guess who will be better in 2034.

Tatum has the improvement already baked in. Unless you expect Ant to improve to “perennial MVP” level (maybe that’s what Simmons thinks?), seems like Tatum to me. He still has his entire prime, it’s not like is on the decline now.
 

lovegtm

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I don't mean to hijack the thread but to expand upon this, if there was a draft tomorrow where every player were available and on identical 5 year contracts, what would your top 10 look like?

IMO
Jokic
Giannis
Wemby
Tatum
SGA
Edwards
Luka
Booker
Haliburton
Jalen Williams (?)

Honestly, after the top 9 it's really damn hard
I think Giannis should/would go lower in such a draft. There are already some signs of decline, and he's 29. The rest of the list looks about right, although if Luka steps things up defensively in the playoffs this year, his stock will rise.

Jalen Williams is a good call--he's ridiculously good already, and going to be more so. OKC has quite a core going there. Probably Chet gets onto that list soon too.
 

Deathofthebambino

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This reminds me of golf handicaps.

It's really hard to go from a 15 to a 10 handicap. It's even harder to go from 10 to 5. It's next to impossible to go from 5 to scratch.

Tatum is at a scratch right now. Edwards is not, and may never be.

The end.
 

jezza1918

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I say it over and over, but Tatum is somehow dinged vs. guys like SGA (despite being the same age), because......he's played in a lot more playoff games? Tatum has more playoff series wins than Giannis, and if it weren't for KD's toe on the line, it wouldn't be remotely close.

He also has been ridiculous in impact metrics his whole career, in any context, which matches the eye test.

There are guys who are better than Tatum, but it's a short list.
But Tony, Tatum hasn't won the title yet...
You're right Mike!
 

Kliq

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I think Jalen Williams is overrated at the moment as well, I'd rather have Chet, who I think is already a better player than Williams.

Embiid is the obvious person missing from Auger's list--even with his injury history.
 

lovegtm

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I think Jalen Williams is overrated at the moment as well, I'd rather have Chet, who I think is already a better player than Williams.

Embiid is the obvious person missing from Auger's list--even with his injury history.
I get it, but big guard/wing 23 year-olds who already are good creators, scorers, and are defensively versatile are insanely valuable. It's basically better passing, shooting, and playmaking Jaylen Brown--extremely projectable, and already a big contributor to winning.

Not a knock on Chet--he's up there too, and OKC has a ridiculous young core cooking there.
 

Kliq

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I get it, but big guard/wing 23 year-olds who already are good creators, scorers, and are defensively versatile are insanely valuable. It's basically better passing, shooting, and playmaking Jaylen Brown--extremely projectable, and already a big contributor to winning.

Not a knock on Chet--he's up there too, and OKC has a ridiculous young core cooking there.
I think Chet has a ceiling of being an efficient 25 ppg+ scorer with DPOY-level defense.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I have no idea about whether Jalen Williams is over or underrated but he absent an injury he is going to be a star in the league for the next decade. I lean that he is underrated only because he plays in OKC, he has SGA and Chet along side him and what he does is more smooth than flashy.

All I know is that if I am roster building and he becomes available, I'd pay a lot to acquire him. He fits with just about any style of star or system.
 

lovegtm

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I have no idea about whether Jalen Williams is over or underrated but he absent an injury he is going to be a star in the league for the next decade. I lean that he is underrated only because he plays in OKC, he has SGA and Chet along side him and what he does is more smooth than flashy.

All I know is that if I am roster building and he becomes available, I'd pay a lot to acquire him. He fits with just about any style of star or system.
Yes, and this is why he won't become available. OKC has "better young Jaylen Brown" locked in for the next 6-7 seasons, and then probably a supermax.

I think Chet has a ceiling of being an efficient 25 ppg+ scorer with DPOY-level defense.
Oh, and Chet too, because I agree with this ceiling, which is "Kevin Garnett 2.0".
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Yes, and this is why he won't become available. OKC has "better young Jaylen Brown" locked in for the next 6-7 seasons, and then probably a supermax.


Oh, and Chet too, because I agree with this ceiling, which is "Kevin Garnett 2.0".
I am pretty comfortable with both of these comps except I feel like I'd add "much" in front of "better young Jaylen Brown".
 

Euclis20

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I'm taking Tatum (because I don't want to rock this boat and because Tatum is further along the development chain, which as posted above is eerily similar, but I'd take 2024 Tatum over 2021 Tatum because I'll take the guaranteed superstar leap over a couple of extra prime years), but I've gotta push back on some of the defense comments. Tatum is bigger and longer and that will always make him slightly more versatile, but have people seen Edwards this year? He won't make all-defense but he's been mentioned in some of those discussions, and he's 6'4 225 with a 6'9 wingspan - those are Marcus Smart measurements, if Smart could also compete in a dunk contest. Someone his size can absolutely be an elite defender. The current gap between Tatum and Edwards is on offense, not defense:

80877

He's certainly helped by having a top 2-3 rim protector behind him, but Edwards has the physicality and mentality to be an absolute bulldog of a perimeter defender (and this isn't hypothetical, he's looked like one for large stretches this season). Tatum's primary advantage (other than the fact that he's actually had playoff success and is clearly a better player right now) is that he's a better shooter. The height advantage is definitely someone neutralized by Edwards' strength and athleticism.
 

Kliq

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Not to be a broken record, but this board throws around DARKO as definitive evidence all the time and I don't see anywhere or anyone else who does that.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Not to be a broken record, but this board throws around DARKO as definitive evidence all the time and I don't see anywhere or anyone else who does that.
Agreed that its not a be-all/end-all stat and we use it primarily because its from one of our own. It certainly doesn't capture everything like when players are making leaps over short spans for example. And of course its fair to question the defense aspects.

That said, it really only seems to bother those who want their takes to go without much interrogation.
 

bosockboy

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I'm taking Tatum (because I don't want to rock this boat and because Tatum is further along the development chain, which as posted above is eerily similar, but I'd take 2024 Tatum over 2021 Tatum because I'll take the guaranteed superstar leap over a couple of extra prime years), but I've gotta push back on some of the defense comments. Tatum is bigger and longer and that will always make him slightly more versatile, but have people seen Edwards this year? He won't make all-defense but he's been mentioned in some of those discussions, and he's 6'4 225 with a 6'9 wingspan - those are Marcus Smart measurements, if Smart could also compete in a dunk contest. Someone his size can absolutely be an elite defender. The current gap between Tatum and Edwards is on offense, not defense:

View attachment 80877

He's certainly helped by having a top 2-3 rim protector behind him, but Edwards has the physicality and mentality to be an absolute bulldog of a perimeter defender (and this isn't hypothetical, he's looked like one for large stretches this season). Tatum's primary advantage (other than the fact that he's actually had playoff success and is clearly a better player right now) is that he's a better shooter. The height advantage is definitely someone neutralized by Edwards' strength and athleticism.
They are both about 36% from 3. Still take Tatum.
 

Jimbodandy

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Not to be a broken record, but this board throws around DARKO as definitive evidence all the time and I don't see anywhere or anyone else who does that.
Folks outside of this forum throw around Raptor, Lebron, PER, RPM, and a whole bunch of other metrics. They're all worse than DARKO. We could use them though, if you'd prefer.
 

Kliq

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Folks outside of this forum throw around Raptor, Lebron, PER, RPM, and a whole bunch of other metrics. They're all worse than DARKO. We could use them though, if you'd prefer.
IIRC, Bowiac himself said that teams are shifting away from using any particular all-in-one analytic as they were not determined to be particularly valuable for evaluation.

All I'm saying is that often times a DARKO chart gets posted with limited additional information outside of "X is better than player Y" and that doesn't really mean much to me, or presumably, a lot of other people.
 

InstaFace

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The silly thing to me was Simmons and Russilo arguing whether Wemby should be the pick over both of them. He's been absolutely amazing of course, but the durability concerns are too real for me. I'd still easily take Ant or Tatum at this point.
This is the nuttiest thing I've read on this forum in at least *checks notes* well, 10 hours or so. But still - nuts!

Wemby is very tall, but also of a build that shouldn't put too much strain on his knees, and he's coming up in an era that understands far better about how to keep players like him on the court. Manute Bol, Ralph Sampson, even Shawn Bradley might as well be ancient history by comparison to a player entering the league in 2024. The guy isn't walking off the rec league courts into the NBA, either - he was a pro for FOUR YEARS in France, with a lower workload than an NBA season, certainly, but the guy was banging down in the post with grown-ass men since he was literally 15 years old. And nearing the end of his 5th pro season, he hasn't missed significant time to injury in any of them.

Anyway, unless one has a deep conviction that Wemby is inevitably going to get Embiid Knee in the immediate future, I don't see how one could possibly take even Tatum or Ant over him. He is a unique game-wrecker, the most unanswerable challenge on both ends of the court in the entire league, save perhaps Jokic. And he just turned 20! Would I trade Tatum for him this coming offseason? If I didn't let sentimentality get in the way, yeah, probably! Our window to get titles would be much extended with him on a rookie-scale contract the next 3 years and making 30% of the cap the 4 years after that, rather than Tatum at 35%. Tatum is "likely first-team all-NBA for the next 5-7 years", obviously an amazing player, but Victor is on the fast track to "maybe the greatest player in basketball history", it's a rung on the ladder that most players can't even reach for. And, while you can't just "find another Jayson Tatum" out there for trade, you can get a lot closer to him, as a two-way wing, than you can get to anyone resembling Wembanyama.

You'd take Ant Edwards over Victor Wembanyama, to build a team around? Wow. I'd understand the skepticism if he was still yet to enter the NBA, questioning if the hype was real, etc. But we've seen it for 70+ games now.
 

Euclis20

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Tatum is definitely a slightly more efficient scorer than Edwards. Tatum's TS% the last two years is .605 and .607, Edwards is .576 and .564. Tatum also takes better care of the ball (for the last 5 years Tatum has had a TO rate of 10.2-10.9%, Edwards has been at 11.7, 13.0 and 12.2 the last few years), and is unsurprisingly a much better rebounder (the only forwards that rebound better than him over the last few years are guys like Giannis, Portis, Randle, Mobley). My only quibble with the Edwards criticism has been around his defense, which is looking VERY good.
 

Jimbodandy

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IIRC, Bowiac himself said that teams are shifting away from using any particular all-in-one analytic as they were not determined to be particularly valuable for evaluation.

All I'm saying is that often times a DARKO chart gets posted with limited additional information outside of "X is better than player Y" and that doesn't really mean much to me, or presumably, a lot of other people.
Yeah that's completely fair. Even he wouldn't say that it should be used for that purpose.

Folks are trying to apply some data so it's not just a gut check or eyeball test. In my case, it's largely because the basketball twitterverse sucks ass at identifying who's actually a good, complete player. We need something better than the vibes.

FWIW, I'll throw out a DARKO chart as quickly as most people, but if it's a serious debate, I usually also post what LEBRON thinks and the BBRef numbers (BPM and ORTG/DRTG, and rate stats like TS% of course) to help fill in some of the picture. One all-in-one stat is not exactly Exhibit A in an argument. Blending them is even worse. Using them, particularly a couple of them, to inform the conversation seems useful though, instead of a 100% eyeball test. YMMV.
 

Smokey Joe

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I say it over and over, but Tatum is somehow dinged vs. guys like SGA (despite being the same age), because......he's played in a lot more playoff games? Tatum has more playoff series wins than Giannis, and if it weren't for KD's toe on the line, it wouldn't be remotely close.

He also has been ridiculous in impact metrics his whole career, in any context, which matches the eye test.

There are guys who are better than Tatum, but it's a short list.
One of the joys(?) of the last few weeks of the season is that one gets to listen to podcasts where they will list players who they think should be all-NBA or MVP or who the would like to build around going forward. Then they will list the qualities that they are looking for like Durability….
And then they will list Embiid ahead of Tatum.
And they will talk about how easy they are to build around…
And then they will list Embiid and Luka ahead of Tatum.
And then they will talk about playoff performance…
And then they will list Embiid, Luka and SGA ahead of Tatum.

Clearly Tatum will not get any respect until he wins a title. I suspect that he even won’t get any respect then.
 

InstaFace

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One of the joys(?) of the last few weeks of the season is that one gets to listen to podcasts where they will list players who they think should be all-NBA or MVP or who the would like to build around going forward. Then they will list the qualities that they are looking for like Durability….
And then they will list Embiid ahead of Tatum.
And they will talk about how easy they are to build around…
And then they will list Embiid and Luka ahead of Tatum.
And then they will talk about playoff performance…
And then they will list Embiid, Luka and SGA ahead of Tatum.

Clearly Tatum will not get any respect until he wins a title. I suspect that he even won’t get any respect then.
I like to imagine Tatum has a Rage Pinboard at home where he's putting all this locker-room material up and then taking it personally, Michael Jordan style. Like he's some sort of SNL parody where he's the most calm, well-adjusted, well-tempered guy in public, and then an egomaniacal monster carrying enormous grudges in private.

"oh, another guy picking Luka over me, is that what he says? Mr. Teammate of the Year?! He'll see. They'll all see!"

edit: obligatory

 

Jimbodandy

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One of the joys(?) of the last few weeks of the season is that one gets to listen to podcasts where they will list players who they think should be all-NBA or MVP or who the would like to build around going forward. Then they will list the qualities that they are looking for like Durability….
And then they will list Embiid ahead of Tatum.
And they will talk about how easy they are to build around…
And then they will list Embiid and Luka ahead of Tatum.
And then they will talk about playoff performance…
And then they will list Embiid, Luka and SGA ahead of Tatum.

Clearly Tatum will not get any respect until he wins a title. I suspect that he even won’t get any respect then.
Yeah it's weird shit. I'll never fully understand why Luka gets the love that he does, when he plays no defense and averages 5.6 playoff games played per career year. His playoff average is one-and-done.
 

snowmanny

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One of the joys(?) of the last few weeks of the season is that one gets to listen to podcasts where they will list players who they think should be all-NBA or MVP or who the would like to build around going forward. Then they will list the qualities that they are looking for like Durability….
And then they will list Embiid ahead of Tatum.
And they will talk about how easy they are to build around…
And then they will list Embiid and Luka ahead of Tatum.
And then they will talk about playoff performance…
And then they will list Embiid, Luka and SGA ahead of Tatum.

Clearly Tatum will not get any respect until he wins a title. I suspect that he even won’t get any respect then.
All this. Exactly.

Embiid is great when he’s great. But look at his track record on health and his playoff success. Anyone who would take 2024-25 Embiid over 2024-25 Tatum is an idiot.

And this Celtic team dominated the regular season and was completely and specifically built around Tatum. Now it was built with care, and with expertise, and it was built over time. And the other players bought in to the plan. So credit to the whole team and the whole front office. But this is what a Tatum-centric team looks like.

There aren’t a ton of players who can so fluidly be the centerpiece of a team that looks this good. And you might think that maybe you could build a dominating team around this one or that one, but the Celtics are doing that already with Tatum. The media is just dumb.
 

AB in DC

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If I wanted someone to build an NBA team around, I'd pick Jayson Tatum.
If I wanted someone to build a '90s-era NBC drama around, I'd pick Anthony Edwards.
 

TomRicardo

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One of the joys(?) of the last few weeks of the season is that one gets to listen to podcasts where they will list players who they think should be all-NBA or MVP or who the would like to build around going forward. Then they will list the qualities that they are looking for like Durability….
And then they will list Embiid ahead of Tatum.
And they will talk about how easy they are to build around…
And then they will list Embiid and Luka ahead of Tatum.
And then they will talk about playoff performance…
And then they will list Embiid, Luka and SGA ahead of Tatum.

Clearly Tatum will not get any respect until he wins a title. I suspect that he even won’t get any respect then.
You can't build a team around Luka, that is the problem. Every single player that has played with both has looked better with Tatum. Embiid has shit the bed head to head against Tatum in the playoffs his entire career. Embiid is better when he is healthy in the regular season. Have fun waiting for that train.

Right now it should go Joker, Giannis, then Tatum/SGA, and Ant is probably popping passed Luka.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
18,550
The love for Luka proves that the love for POINTZ will never die. I mean, he’s a great player. But he is nowhere near Tatum in terms of overall impact.
 

lovegtm

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Apr 30, 2013
13,419
The love for Luka proves that the love for POINTZ will never die. I mean, he’s a great player. But he is nowhere near Tatum in terms of overall impact.
My working assumption at this point is that a lot of these guys don't actually get basketball that well, and so fall back on really really blunt heuristics to understand it. Tatum was engineered in a lab to not fit that type of analysis.
 

pjheff

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Jan 4, 2003
1,372
The love for Luka proves that the love for POINTZ will never die. I mean, he’s a great player. But he is nowhere near Tatum in terms of overall impact.
The perception is that Luka is a closer, where the optics for Tatum have been less flattering. How many games has he won late against the Celtics alone?

With Edwards, the argument will primarily be that he is an alpha male apex predator with a nasty streak unlike Tatum’s clean image and understated personality.