Grande: This Is What We Thought Jayson Tatum Could Be

Over the last six weeks, Tatum has gone from one of the best players on his team to one of the best players in the NBA

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 04, 2020 - 10:12 am
Jayson Tatum Celtics

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If you haven’t been paying attention to the dog days of the NBA, then perhaps you’ve missed Jayson Tatum’s rise. 

Tatum, who has shown flashes of greatness throughout his career, was otherworldly in February, during which he averaged 30.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals. Boston (41-19) went 10-3 in those games, with two of the losses coming to the Lakers and Rockets by a combined three points.

Tatum, make no mistake, has been a star.

“I think it’s what we thought Jayson Tatum could be,” Celtics radio play-by-play voice Sean Grande said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think what is striking is how fast it happened. Six weeks ago, you could make a legitimate intellectual argument that Jayson Tatum was the fourth-best player on the Celtics. Over the last couple of weeks, people are talking about how he might be one of the four best players in the league right now.”

Tatum averaged 20.3 points per game in November, 22.4 in December, and 21.8 in January before exploding in February. Not bad for a guy who turned 22 on Tuesday.

“When it snaps into place, it snaps into place,” Grande said. “He had a lot of adjustments coming off of last year when his shot selection was really awful, taking a lot of long 2s, and for the first part of this year, he was inefficient. He’d have big nights, but there was an inefficiency to his game because he was thinking about that. What happened almost overnight was that half-second delay in the thought process, it just disappeared.”

Tatum’s defense, meanwhile, has been stout all season.

“The reason Jayson Tatum is sixth in the NBA is plus-minus is because his defense has been so good, even when he was struggling to get his rhythm offensively,” Grande said. “Now it has all clicked. He’s played at a level the last month-and-a-half where you could say this is the next guy. This is the next guy to carry the torch.”