When watching the Draft last night, we were teased with all kinds of rumors throughout the day. Whether it was Porzingus, Jimmy Butler, the rumors were flying. But being a Celtics fan, you knew deep down nothing would happen. Which is correct, the Celtics ended up keeping their pick and selected someone who I very much am high on in Jayson Tatum. After the Celtics traded away the number one pick, I needed to find someone else to hitch my wagon to and insert Tatum. For me it was between Tatum and Josh Jackson. When reading the scouting report on Jackson it sounded very similar to our own Jaylen Brown with people saying on Jackson "An edgy, explosive, often emotional prospect with an erratic jumper and a mentality that straddles the border of intensity and instability". Although I love Jaylen, I don't want another one of him plus Jackson blew off the Celtics for a workout in Sacramento so he clearly didn't want to be a Celtic along with the fact leading up to the draft Jackson made it clear he won't work out for the Celtics. Now, onto why I like Jayson Tatum: amazing scoring ability and can play defense which I'll break down further.
Lets start with his offense. Tatum in college averaged 16.8 ppg while shooting 50 percent from the field (on 8 shot attempts) and shot 34 percent from three (on 4 attempts). He has a wide array of moves and footwork that you can say are beyond what you'd expect from a prospect who just turned 19 earlier this month. Tatum has a full assortment of effective jab steps, crossovers, turnarounds, fadeaways to get his defender off balance and create separation and make his shots. As mentioned before, Tatum connected on 34.2% of his four three-point attempts per game, an encouraging, but still inconsistent, addition to his game for a player who seemed to have issues with that as a high school prospect. Tatum is most effective on the perimeter when he has time to gather himself, as he shot 40.5% on unguarded catch and shoot shots (mostly threes) whereas when there was a defender or he had to rush his shot, he shot 29.3 %. Tatum also showed the ability to make shots pulling up off the dribble, especially going to his left, where he was comfortable using one or two rhythm dribbles to generate space. This is both a blessing and a curse, as while it allowed Tatum to shoulder a heavier offensive burden for the Blue Devils, he was also a little bit too willing at times to settle for tough, contested, midrange jumpers.
On Defense, this is where scouts say he can improve but for a 19 year old, he does flash some potential. He averaged 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals and one of his strengths on defense was on closeouts. Being 6'8 he was able to use his 7'0 wingspan to be in the way and disrupt passes or contest a shot to the extent of causing a miss or getting a finger tip on the ball. Also, whenever players would go to the hoop or post up on him, he can put up a fight against the player forcing a contested shot when he gets in position but seemed to be a little on the inconsistent with that. However, this can be something that can be fixed since he knows he can defend these types of plays especially with that wingspan.
Overall, I am very happy with this pick. While I would've liked Fultz here, I think Tatum after Fultz could be the next best player in this draft. Tatum is a better shooting Jaylen if we want to compare him to someone on this team, but I think the two of them will be able to work well together and bounce off themselves and be a fun combination to watch. With the guidiance of Coach Stevens, Isiah and Horford, Tatum is going to fit in nicely with this team and Celtics fans will maybe start to forgive Danny Ainge for making the trade with the Sixers. We will get a first glimpse of Tatum in Summer League which starts July 3rd but in the meantime, onto free agency!