News flash everyone! Jayson Tatum is a pretty good basketball player. The former Duke forward hit the court running his Rookie season after being selected 3rd overall by the Celtics. As the ‘gin’ to Jaylen Brown’s ‘juice,’ “Taco Jay” made it very clear to the world that he has a place in the league.
Thrusted into the Spotlight
Coming into the season, Tatum was expected to undergo a similar growth process as Jaylen Brown just a year earlier. Perhaps the 19-year-old would snag 20 minutes per game off of the bench. Maybe he would be talented enough to start, but would still play second fiddle to more established veterans on the roster. By no means was he expected to handle a ‘go to guy’ role. Thankfully for the Celtics, Tatum hit the gym and used his program discount to improve his jumping ability.
After five minutes into his NBA debut, that would all change. Once Hayward went down, Tatum immediately became the guy looked at to fill his shoes. Talk about pressure! How’d he respond? He hit the King with a 14-point, 10 rebound game in his NBA debut and never looked back. He put up 13.9 points and 5 rebounds per game while shooting an absurd 43.3% from deep over the course of the season.
If that wasn’t enough, he elevated his game to a whole new level during Boston’s long playoff run. In 19 playoff appearances, Tatum averaged a team leading 18.5 points per game while taking over the role as the primary closer. The 20-year-old became the second highest scoring rookie in NBA playoff history, falling a single point shy of tying legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Tatum was selected to the NBA’s All-Rookie 1st team while finishing third in the Rookie of the Year race. The expectations for the budding young star have only burgeoned since then. Some believe that he could be the best player on the Celtics’ already-loaded roster in just a few years’ time. Others see Tatum as a superstar-level talent that could take over the league sooner rather than later.
One of those people happens to be NBA Analyst and former player Stephen Jackson.
Jackson joined Fox Sports “Undisputed” to talk about Boston’s projected win total (currently sitting at 57.5). He mentioned Tatum as a key player for the team moving forward and made quite the statement about his potential.
Check out what he had to say:
“I think Tatum will be a top 10 player this year.”
Can Jayson Tatum Become an ‘Elite’ Talent?
Jayson Tatum may have finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting, but there is no denying his potential as the best player to come out of last year’s draft. His ability to score at will from all three levels and knack of taking over in the clutch are reminiscent of a young Kobe Bryant. He is quick enough to attack off the dribble, crafty enough to get a shot up over taller defenders, and smooth enough to knock down pull-ups from any spot on the court. Possessed with a high basketball IQ and a coachable personality, Tatum has every tool necessary to become one of the NBA’s elite players.
At this point, it’s only a matter of time before this expectation comes to fruition. According to Stephen Jackson, that time may be coming a whole lot sooner than anybody expects.