Jayson Tatum is Primed to Break Out At Disney
By Jake From the East
Writer at offthedomesports.wordpress.com
The NBA seems primed to be the first major sports league back, with the regular season tentatively scheduled to resume on July 31st at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. The details seemed all worked out; teams will live between three Disney resorts and essentially be sequestered there, no fans will be present, rigorous testing and contact tracing protocols, eight regular season games per team and then the playoffs will begin with the same format as usual. All things considered, the NBA did a very good job in scheduling, developing, and agreeing on a return to play format.
One interesting part about the NBA’s return however is the way in which is provides advantages/disadvantages to different parties as the season comes back. Now, I could go ahead and write a very typical “Winners and Losers for the NBA’s Orlando Bubble” and rehash what so many other up and coming blog-writers do. Instead, what I am going to do is highlight one person who I think could emerge as the biggest winner out of everyone: Celtics’ small forward Jayson Tatum.
Recently, Enes Kanter spoke about Tatum on his podcast. "Jayson Tatum, it looks like he lost nothing. He didn’t lose his touch, he’s still making some crazy shots,” Kanter gushed. “He’s got that Trae Young haircut now. No, he’s good, man. Having fun, getting better. He looks really good to me. … I’m excited to see what he’s going to do out there.” Kanter’s optimism, in my opinion, is not misplaced nor is it overly biased towards his teammate. Given the 100+ day hiatus from basketball, it’s understandable that people have forgotten that Tatum was absolutely BALLING before the break.
In the last 10 games he played before COVID rudely interrupted the NBA season, Tatum averaged 30.8 PPG, 2.9 APG, and 8 RPG, and was arguably the hottest player in the league. On the season, he is averaging 23.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, with a 6.2 Win Share and 20.3 PER, all while shooting 44.8% from the field and 39.8% from beyond the arc. Now, these are obviously All-Star caliber numbers, however, the ten-game stretch before the season ended? Those numbers are borderline MVP numbers, and definitely an All-Star Starter. The question turns to, can Tatum keep this up going into the bubble? Based on what Kanter is saying, Tatum’s got fire in his eyes and big aspirations for Orlando. And he has a LOT to gain from a strong Orlando performance reminiscent of the last ten games he played back in February and March.
Tatum has been flirting with stardom for some time now and Celtics fans especially have championed him as the next guy in Boston. A strong performance in the bubble playoffs this year, with the nation’s eye upon him, could cement Tatum as the #1 option in Boston, rising above Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown. Additionally, if Tatum leads the Celtics past Eastern Conference Teams with superstars, such as the 76ers with Joel Embiid and possibly Ben Simmons, the Miami Heat and Jimmy Butler, and the Bucks with MVP Giannis, he will cement himself as one the premier talents in the basketball world. Granted, the Celtics themselves weren’t exactly rolling back in March, having gone 13-7 in their last 20 games and 5-5 in their last 10. However, I really believe Tatum and the Celtics can rise to the challenge in Orlando.
For one, Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the NBA. With the lack of crowd noise in the Orlando games, Stevens will be able to coach a lot more from the bench throughout the game, possibly giving the Celtics an advantage. Additionally, the Celtics have a ton of depth which should be helpful as players return to form and possibly contract the virus. Kemba, Brown, Tatum, and Gordon Hayward are all capable of scoring 20 pts on any given night. Finally, the Celtics, and Tatum especially, match up very well against some the top teams in the league. Against the Bucks, the Celtics are 1-1, but have a +6 point differential. In those games, Tatum scored 25 and 17 points and had a combined plus/minus of +25. Against the Heat, the Celtics are 2-0. Tatum played one game, had 19 points and a +31 plus/minus. Against the Lakers, Boston is 1-1 with a +30 point differential. Tatum, going up against Lebron mostly, scored 27 and 41 points with a +38 plus/minus. And, who can forget what tatum did to Lebron in the Eastern Conference Finals a few years ago?
Overall, the Celtics match up very well against the premier talent in the league, and given Tatum’s ability to show up in big games against good teams, the way he was playing before the break, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t lost his fire during quarantine, the league should look out. Jayson Tatum is preparing to reintroduce himself to the world starting July 30th and it will be a show you don’t want to miss. And don’t be surprised if, by the time October rolls around, the city of Boston is planning a socially-distant parade for their NBA Champs and Tatum, the Finals MVP.
- Jake from the East
ex post facto: For readers that aren’t familiar with my work (so, the majority of you all), I usually end my posts with a little thought, list, or other potpourri which come to mind when writing the article. I’m going to use this time to self-promote a little bit. I want to thank PuffsPicks for the invitation to write a guest-blog first of all. In you all enjoyed this article, I write full-time over at Off the Dome Sports (offthedomesports.wordpress.com and @OTDsportsblog on Twitter). We’ve got a ton of great content, from NBA to UFC and even fantasy sports. We’d love if you’d check us out, and if you enjoy it, follow our blog and our Twitter account to be up to date on our most recent content. Other than that, let me know your thoughts on Tatum and the NBA Bubble over @TwoTheFlagrant on Twitter and be on the lookout for more Jake from the East articles over at Off the Dome!