In the playoffs last season, Jayson Tatum really made his presence known in the NBA. He’s 6’8 with a game so smooth that it rivals Kevin Durant a little. Tatum set the world on fire when he dunked on LeBron James in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics would’ve had a better chance to win the game if they gave him the ball more during the remaining part of the game. Tatum averaged 18.5 points per game during the playoffs and built up a lot of expectations for this season. He’s currently averaging 16 points per game on 45% shooting while taking 13 shots per game.
He hasn’t been making as much noise as expected but, that’s fine because at the end of the day he’s only in his second season. However, if the Celtics want to compete for a title they are going to need him to be more aggressive. Tatum needs to get his shot attempts up to about 16 per game. He’s too talented and athletic to not be a significant part of the Celtics offense, he knows how to create his own shots and blow by defenders to get to the cup. Boston needs to exploit that option more, if Tatum is keeping the defense on its heels it will be easier for Kyrie Irving to get to open shots and close out games. Irving and Tatum should try to develop a relationship similar to that of Paul George and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. If they are able to do that over the final month of the season, they may have an opportunity to make it out of the Eastern Conference and contend for the title.
With the Warriors on the verge of breaking up, there are some vulnerabilities that can be exposed if the Celtics were to face them in the Finals. On the other hand, we all know the same can be said about the Celtics, there have been rumblings from this team all season about several issues. The difference with the Celtics is that they’re deeper and younger than the Warriors and that’s the recipe for them to win. Boston winning the title starts with Jayson Tatum establishing himself as the number 2 for the Celtics and giving teams like Philadelphia, Toronto, and Milwaukee fits on the defensive end. We all know what Tatum can be in the future and that’s why he’s so valuable but the time is now why not take advantage of it.