Today we’ll get a better look at a young kid from St. Louis, Missouri who’s making his name known in the NBA. He made his first All-Star appearance in the 2020 All-Star game for the East. The young 22 year old has helped the Boston Celtics continue their championship culture and has been a solid player, even at this young age. He’s on the rise and everyone has their eyes on this kid because he may be something special. Today’s topic is “Jayson Tatum’s Rise to Stardom”.
Tatum attended Chaminade College Prep School in St. Louis. He was a standout player as a freshman and averaged 13.3 points. His averages increased in his sophomore and junior year. He played AAU basketball for the St. Louis Eagles and competed against other top recruits. Before his senior season, he verbally committed to Duke University, although he had other top notch schools interested like North Carolina and Kentucky. As a senior, he almost averaged a double-double. He helped Chaminade win their second 5A state championship. Jayson was chosen to compete in the McDonald’s All-American Game, and also played in the Jordan Brand Classic. He was named the 2016 Gaterade National Player of the Year and considered one of the best prospects in the 2016 class.
Tatum started off his season at Duke injured, so he made his debut on December 3rd, 2016. The Blue Devils made it to the ACC tournament as the fifth seed, and ended up winning it all. With Tatum’s help, Duke entered the NCAA Tournament as a #2 seed. They didn’t take it too far, taking an L to South Carolina in the second round. In the tournament he averaged 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He was voted to the ACC All-Freshman team and third team All-ACC. After a spectacular season at Duke, he decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Celtics dealt away the team’s first pick to the 76’ers. The Celtics GM had hopes of getting Tatum with this controversial move he made. He was a bit underrated in the draft on the boards, but the Boston Celtics picked Tatum as the number three pick in the draft. The year before they picked Jaylen Brown, who was also a small forward. He produced the numbers they wanted to see in the NBA Summer League and management was content with their pick. In Tatum’s NBA debut he actually started and recorded a double-double. The Celtics were a solid team, and with the help of Tatum they entered the 2018 NBA playoffs as a second seed in the east. In the second round, Tatum became the first Celtics rookie to score 25 or more points in a playoff game, since Larry Bird in the 1980 playoffs. He also broke the record surpassing Kobe Bryant becoming the youngest player ever to score at least 20 points in four straight playoff games being only 20 years and 61 days old. He beat out his own record and finished the playoffs scoring 20 or more points in 10 games.
In the 2018-2019 season, Tatum became a solid and important piece on the Celtics. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but were eliminated by Giannis and the Bucks. He increased his average from 13.9 points in his rookie season, to 15.7 points per game.
Getting into the 2019-2020 season. He topped his career high and scored 41 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. He finally was voted to his first All-Star game before the season was postponed. Tatum helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in his three years in the NBA. Tatum’s performances still weren’t enough and they were eliminated by the Miami Heat in six games. The series was tight and we saw some of the best performances from Tatum and Jimmy Butler, but it just wasn’t his time yet.
In this current 2020-2021 season, the Celtics offered Tatum a rookie maximum extension of five years, wirth $195 million. He opened up the season with a game winning three-pointer against the Bucks. Celtics fans are more than happy to have Tatum in Boston and expect another title soon enough. Tatum is averaging 26.8 points, 7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in only playing 13 games. He’s already had a season high 40 points in 31 minutes against the Raptors, career-high 11 rebounds, and season high 12 assists. He’s recorded 3 double-doubles this season and also has scored 30 points or more in 4 games so far. He’s got handles, he’s got an efficient shot and he can go to the hole. And, let’s not forget he can defend as well.
Spectators are excited to see how Tatum matures as a player, but he has the potential to be one of the best players in the league. I know there’s Luka, and also Zion, but we can’t leave out Jayson Tatum with the amount of skill, length, and athleticism that he brings to the table. Does he have the whole package? I think he can be something special in the NBA. He can even be MVP material. It’s still early in this season, and he’s only in his fourth year so let’s pay attention to this young rising star.