Tatum was expected by many to bust out this past season. While he was solid, he did not have the type of year many expected, which played a role in what was a very disappointing season for the Celtics overall.
But with a cleaner locker room and more freedom, Tatum could be in for a true breakout year.
Here are three expectations for Tatum this coming season.
3. Average 4 free-throw attempts per game
For as talented of a scorer as Jayson Tatum is, he shot just 2.9 free throws per game this past year. That’s just not enough.
As a matter of fact, that number was down from the 3.2 foul shots he averaged during his rookie campaign.
Tatum is long, athletic and can create a whole lot of mismatches as a result, whether that means posting up a smaller player or taking a big off of the dribble.
There is no reason why Tatum shouldn’t be getting to the charity stripe at least four times a night, and that’s actually a bit conservative. He really should get there five times per game in 2019-20, but let’s take it one step at a time.
The thing is, Tatum hits his foul shots when he gets there. He shot 85.5 percent from the line in 2018-19, and during his rookie year, he made 82.6 percent of his free throws. Imagine what getting to the stripe more will do for his scoring.
2. Shoot 39 percent from 3-point range
I could say 40 percent, but that would be asking a bit too much seeing as how Jayson Tatum’s volume is likely to increase this year.
Tatum did make 43.4 percent of his triples during his rookie year, but this past season, that number dipped to 37.3 percent. That’s still good, but it’s obviously a step back from what he did during his first year in the league.
The 21-year-old has a very smooth stroke, so it would not be a shock if he made 40 percent of his triples during the 2019-20 campaign. But because he shot 37.3 percent this past year and, again, will likely be shooting the ball more, 39 percent seems like a more realistic goal.
1. Average 18 points per game
While Irving and Horford have departed, the Celtics did bring in Kemba Walker. Let’s also remember that Gordon Hayward will likely be a heck of a lot better this season now that he has a full year of recovery under his belt.
Not only that, but Jaylen Brown will likely get his shots, and Enes Kanter is always an offensive threat.
Taking all of that into consideration, we shouldn’t expect Tatum to average 20 points per game. 18 points per game definitely seems reachable, though, as he registered 15.7 points per game this past year.
The key is how Tatum gets those points. If he can average 18 points on great efficiency, that’s fantastic.
Tatum’s efficiency thus far has been very impressive for such a young player, as he boasts a true shooting percentage of 56.5 percent. That number should increase this season.