When it comes to young and budding NBA superstars, one of the most commonly heard names is Jayson Tatum. The Celtics ace has built a reputation for being one of the best bucket-getters in the game, rivalling the best in the business. His unique style of play, incredible playmaking, and freakish athleticism have made him a successful player on his way to earning many accolades. He may be the top prospect in a new generation of basketball and is on track to cement his name in NBA history with his shoes hung in Springfield.
Tatum was one of the most exciting players to come out of college basketball, spending his true freshman season as the team’s No. 1 scorer. NBA teams were salivating, waiting for their chance to draft the next Kobe Bryant. His college stats were very impressive, especially in a highly competitive Duke Blue Devils system.
As an 18-year-old during the 2016-17 basketball season, Tatum racked up the stats. He averaged 16.8 points per game, along with 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He was also a great defensive player who would stand out on many NBA teams, claiming over one block and steal per game. He was ready for the transition and would prove so very soon.
When the 2017 NBA draft rolled around, there were questions as to who would be picked where. Luckily, the Celtics took him at No. 3, and he never looked back. In his first season as a 19-year-old, he started in every game. He was the 3rd highest scorer on a playoff-hopeful team, averaging 13.9 points per game. He played in 80 of the team’s games and helped Kyrie and Jaylen Brown make it to the playoffs. Although that year did not turn out as they would have hoped, it set the expectations for the young group moving forward.
In his sophomore season, he would take over Jaylen Brown as the team’s second-highest scorer. His 15.7 points and 6 rebounds helped bring Boston to a 49-33 record and a first-round playoff sweep. However, facing the superstar Bucks, they were disappointed again. This was the breaking point for Kyrie Irving, leaving the team. However, this was the time for the Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum duos to finally take over.
Taking the Reins
Tatum took his talent to the next level, becoming one of the league’s best scorers in 2020. Not only would he increase his scoring from 15.7 to 23.4, but he would make his first all-star appearance. We would finally see him blossom, with 7 rebounds per game, a steal and a half, and a jump in 3-point percentage by 3%. He finally became the player Boston wanted when he was drafted and made a statement.
Paired with Brown and Kemba Walker, the Celtics skyrocketed expectations. In a shorter season than previous due to the Covid pandemic, they still won 48 games to 24 losses. They would make their deepest playoff run in years, with an incredible performance in the bubble. They swept the 76ers in the first round, beat the Raptors in 7 games for round two, and lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. In those 17 games, he averaged 25.7 points and 10.0 rebounds. He also threw in 5 assists, one block, and one steal. This is when the league finally started to take notice, as the young buck led his team to a successful playoff run. The expectation going forward was more playoff success and that they received. Also Read – Trainwreckstv: Bio, Wiki, Real Name, Girlfriend, YouTube, Twitch, Gaming, Net Worth.
Next in Line
Tatum would not step backward for the next three seasons to come. He turned himself into one of the most elite basketball players in the league in 2020, averaging 26.4 points per game. Paired with 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists, he became one of the most well-rounded players in the game. However, playoff success would not be in the books for them, as they lost to the prodigal Brooklyn Nets in 5 games. Although the result was not what we wanted, this would be the first time we saw Tatum average over 30 points per game. In the series, he put up 30.6 points per game. This success would only continue in 2021.
The 2021 Boston Celtics season would be the best season the team had seen in years. A 51-31 regular season record shocked the world, especially after a slower start. Tatum took the league’s breath away, bringing up his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers yet again. His 26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists would be his best marks yet. This would also be the year the team made a finals appearance, only to lose to the Warriors in 6 games. His playoff stats were a step down from years previous, dropping to 25 points per game. However, they are making a good run in the playoffs in 2022 and may find their way back to the postseason.
The 2022-23 season is what put Tatum in MVP conversations. He broke 30 points per game for the entirety of the season, with 8.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He cemented his legacy as one of the top 5 basketball players in the league, even being considered a favorite for the MVP at the beginning of the year. His play, regardless of a coaching change, has led them to a great playoff run. They won the first series against Atlanta in 6 games, with little trouble against Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. In the second round, they face MVP Joel Embiid and cohort James Harden. At the time of this article being written, they are up 2 games to 1 on the Most Valuable Player and are on pace to win the series outright.
Career (so far)
Tatum came into the league as a highly touted prospect and turned himself into a household name. His ability to do everything on the court makes him one of the most useful pieces in the Celtics organization and has set himself up for incredible paychecks from this point forward.