ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported earlier that the Boston Celtics will “most likely” reward Jayson Tatum with a max contract after the 2019-20 season concludes. Bam Adebayo's response was also the exact same thing that popped into my mind when I first read the headline:
— 13am Adebayo💥 (@Bam1of1) May 30, 2020
Signing Tatum to a max deal is an absolute no-brainer for the Celtics.
His breakout 2019-20 campaign should be enough proof for Boston that their former No. 3 overall pick is worth the investment of a max contract. Jayson Tatum is already a legitimate star in this league. He also has superstar potential written all over him and he flashed that superstar potential especially just before the league's abrupt suspension.
Boston had their doubts on Tatum when he didn't quite break out in his sophomore season. He sort of lost his way and his confidence with so many dark clouds surrounding the Celtics in 2018-19.
This season, however, Tatum looks much more confident with his game and, in turn, is taking the leap into superstardom. The Celtics are finally seeing the 21-year old stud tap into the massive potential he showed when he turned in a promising debut campaign, including an impressive 2018 postseason as a 19-year old rookie.
Tatum has already established himself as a premier scorer in this league. He averaged 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from long range this 2019-20 season.
Tatum went on an absolute tear when the calendar turned 2020, especially in February. Through that month alone, he turned in averages of 30.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists, while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and an insane 48.1 percent from three (with over four makes per game). If those numbers don't scream superstar, then I don't know what does. His breakout season earned him the first of what should be many more All-Star nods in his bright career.
But Tatum isn't just a one-trick pony. The former Duke standout has also made significant strides on the other end of the floor and is becoming a legitimate two-way star. He is becoming a much better defender and is utilizing his length and athleticism to disrupt players on the defensive end.
Tatum has also made some changes to his game that has improved his efficiency overall. Many of his critics knocked on him for taking too many contested long two-point shots. Tatum took much less of those this season and has focused on taking the more efficient shots in basketball: threes and layups.
Nonetheless, Tatum has an all-around offensive game and is just as deadly in the mid-range. As someone who grew up idolizing the late Kobe Bryant, there is definitely a lot of Mamba in JT's game. He already has a polished post-up at such a young age and he clearly took his turnaround jumper from Kobe's book.
And while his game speaks for himself, Tatum has also looked the part of a superstar as well. The 6-foot-8 forward is looking much more confident with every game and he knows that he is ready to become the next face of the franchise in Boston.
What makes Tatum so scary at this point is that he is just 21 years old and he is only going to get better. He is nowhere near his ceiling just yet and the sky is the limit for the kid. Definitely, he and the Celtics will experience growing pains together as he eventually taps into his full potential. But investing the maximum amount of dollars on Tatum is something they shouldn't take long to think about.