With Kyrie’s departure this past offseason and landing Kemba Walker, the Celtics were beginning a new lead after what all went down a season ago. With the toxicity leaving the Boston locker room flying over to Brooklyn with Kyrie, it was time for someone new to step up for the team.
Many expected Jayson Tatum to be that next man for the team to take them beyond going forward. Both he and Kemba Walker have the potential to be one of the best duos in the NBA today. With Tatum’s size and athleticism to go along with his talent, he has the potential to be the Celtics future star going forward and he needs to command everything to go through him.
Tatum is for sure averaging better numbers this season prior to last season. He is in a more comfortable position now than he was a year ago and it’s showing with his play on the court. Tatum is averaging a career best so far averaging 21.5 points per game on 43% shooting. He’s getting to his spots in the mid range and using his height to his advantage when elevating over defenders. Many will say that this could be Tatum’s breakout season after the C’s pretty much played through Kyrie last year, but there’s some places in his game that the 21 year old can get better upon.
Tatum’s numbers are pretty decent for a third year player, but it’s about time he takes it up a notch. Throughout the course of this season, it has been more of Kemba as being the savior of this team so far with Tatum just following behind. Let’s not get it twisted, Kemba is an exceptional amount of talent who knows how to put the ball in the basket despite his small frame, but with the experience of being a Boston Celtic, many expected for Tatum to be the go to guy and hoping that Brad Stevens would run the offense through him.
Everyone knows that Jayson Tatum idolized Kobe Bryant growing up and seem to really want to have that Mamba Mentality when he first got to the NBA. For many, it was great for Tatum to want to favor an assassin who did anything in his power to win. Although Tatum didn’t display his inner Kobe last season with Kyrie owning almost every possession, we thought that he would take advantage this season with a new point guard playing with him. I think it is important that Tatum brings back that mamba mentality in his game as it’ll help him become more assertive throughout the course of the season.
Not only does Tatum need to be assertive on the offensive end, there’s a couple of places in his game where he can improve on as well. One for instance is being consistent attacking the rim. We have seen plays where Tatum has attacked the rim or has penetrated through the defense to get an easy layup. Maybe Tatum does not want to take the beating of going down low but it would create many opportunities for himself to get a basket or even draw a foul if he is consistent going to the rim with assertiveness.
As far as defense, Tatum is so long and quick that he easily has the ability to guard any position on the floor. No matter what defensive rotation Brad Stevens is running, he can either have Tatum under the basket protecting the paint as well as being on the perimeter guarding a combo guard. Many players in the NBA are not capable of having Tatum’s ability so it’s important that he is aggressive on the defensive end being the anchor for the team whenever they get a stop. The Celtics are already a great defensive team anyways but if Tatum can take it up just a notch where it leads to opportunities on offense, he could give his team lots of momentum and take their opposing team out of their rhythm.
As his career continues, it will be time for Jayson Tatum to take the franchise under his wing and possibly lead them to a championship in the future. He has the experience after being in the playoffs his first two seasons in the league. As time goes on he will continue to gain more experience dealing with more elite talents at the NBA’s biggest stage. With his size and length, Tatum is way too talented to not be a franchise player for any team. He can create his own shot as well as get to the rim when he is engaged into the game.
It all starts with today though. Tatum has to realize that he can be a leader of a team and figure out a way to be a vocal leader on and off the court for his teammates. If he can’t be that go to guy for the Celtics then he’s wasting all of his talent. Hopefully he can take his game to the next level soon where he can have the offense run through him just like all the other greats did. The potential is high for Jayson Tatum and we’ll see how things go for him going forward.