Tatum Evolving Quietly but Quickly


After the Boston Celtics’ Game 2 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, many were giving their thoughts on Jayson Tatum‘s performance.

He finished with 18 points (7/19 FG, 0/3 3PT), 11 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Simply from a quick glance, that stat line is not appealing from a so called “superstar”. But after watching Tatum grow into the player he has become for seven years, this playoff run has been a display of outstanding basketball IQ.

Shooting Struggles

It is safe to say the percentages have not been there thus far. Through nine postseason games, Tatum has shot 42% from the field and 23% from the three-point line. The beauty about basketball is you can make an impact without scoring at a high level.

Watching most young players form and grow into stars of the league is one of the most fascinating things to see. Going back through previous playoff runs for JT, he struggled with turning the ball over, reading the defense and forcing shots. Normal habits from a young guy trying to find his way.

Through the first round and so far in round two, Tatum has been seeing multiple defenders no matter where he is catching the ball. This has forced him to make the right basketball play, rather then trying to get his own. On most teams, this would be a recipe for disaster. But with a team like the Boston Celtics, it has been proven that the others can step up and carry the scoring load.

Growth from JT

Most people tend to see a box score and their eyes are drawn to scoring. Truth is, there is so much more than just that. It is one thing if someone like the caliber of Tatum can score 30 plus a night, but the difference isn’t that. It goes from sitting down on the defensive end and getting a stop, reading a defense, making the right read out of a double and even rebounding the basketball, all things Tatum has excelled in.

Not only have all of those things grown for Tatum, but his playmaking has took an exceptional leap each year. So far in this postseason, his assist-to-turnover ratio sits at 2.45 to 1. Remarkable growth from someone who had 100 turnovers in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Something JT has really established is rebounding the basketball. He leads the Celtics so far this postseason with 94 rebounds. Another aspect of his game that has grown. It falls onto the effort aspect as well, especially come playoff time. Rebounding can be as simple as who wants it more and he is demonstrating that he is fully capable of rebounding at a high level.

Trust in Tatum

From a fan perspective, it has to be difficult to watch your star player not have a 30-point night with efficient shooting.

As Celtics fans know, they have another guy who can and has been putting up these numbers. Jaylen Brown has absolutely been on a tear, and he cannot go unnoticed. The Celtics have two 1A’s and Jaylen is proving he can carry the scoring load.

The Boston legend Derrick White has also picked up the scoring slack at a historic rate. The great thing about having a star-studded lineup is that your superstar can go through a slump. This team is built for the postseason, whether people want to admit it or not.

Do you remember Game 6 in Milwaukee, or Game 7 vs. PhiladelphiaJayson Tatum is playing some of the smartest basketball ever. He will break out of the shooting slump and rise to the occasion per usual.

About Gannon Short

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