Is Jayson Tatum back on track to become a legitimate superstar?
“Tatum drives down AND THROWS IT DOWN!” Mike Breen lost his mind when 19-year old rookie Jayson Tatum posterized the almighty LeBron James in the fourth quarter of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
He scored 24 points that game, leading the Celtics against The King, who, at the time, ruled the Eastern Conference for eight straight seasons. Despite coming up short in the end, the Game 7 performance that capped off a magnificent playoff debut led etched his name into inevitable superstardom.
However, that didn’t quite come to fruition in his sophomore season as Tatum fell short of the lofty expectations that were set for him following an impressive rookie campaign. Despite having better numbers across the board, it wasn’t quite what fans of the rising star anticipated. Pundits second-guessed whether Tatum can actually become a legitimate superstar in the NBA.
But with how year three is going so far, perhaps Tatum is right back on track to the path of becoming a superstar in the NBA.
Tatum showcased just that in his last two games, both of which translated into wins for the Celtics. He scored 25 points on 10-of-22 shooting and four three-pointers to help lead Boston to a great team win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
Tatum, then, followed that up with a 24-point performance and the Kobe Bryant-esque game-winner against the New York Knicks last night at Madison Square Garden. The shot, the moment, and the poise in clutch time absolutely screamed superstar.
Through his first three games, however, Tatum struggled mightily from the field, shooting a horrid 34.4 percent from the field. Over the last two, he shot 48.7 percent to bump up his field goal percentage to 40.0 percent on the season.
Overall in five outings, Tatum is averaging 22.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 steals – all up from last season. Despite the overall shooting struggles from the field, Tatum is shooting at an absurd 48.6 percent from beyond the arc, converting 3.6 threes per game.
Even with the shooting struggles, perhaps the main difference with Tatum this season is that he just looks a lot more confident out there, similar to what we saw in the 2018 playoffs. He sort of lost that look for all of last season with all the drama and chemistry issues clouding the Celtics.
With Kyrie Irving no longer in town and with his spot as a franchise star set in stone, Tatum has regained the swagger that he had when he, as a rookie, helped lead Boston to within a win from making the NBA Finals.
The kid is just 21-years old. There will still be growing pains and it won’t be a smooth sailing journey all throughout.
But given where he is at right now, considering how much more he can develop paired with his growing confidence, there is no doubt that Tatum can be the next franchise superstar for the storied Boston Celtics.