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Jayson Tatum came to the Celtics with the reputation as a scorer, and last season he did nothing to dispel that idea. In past decades, Boston has had prolific scorers in Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Larry Bird and Paul Pierce. But beyond being scorers, they were clutch shooters. They could be counted on with the game on the line.


Let's travel back to Game Seven of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals against Lebron James' Cavaliers. Jayson played 42 minutes in that losing effort and scored 24 points on 52.9% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier couldn't throw it in the ocean, combining for a horrid 19% (8-of-42) on field goals and 11.5% (3-of-26) on three-pointers.

Boston has a slew of players that can hit their shots from any distance. Both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward can be counted on in the clutch, and Jaylen, T-To, Al Horford and even Smart can come through when it matters, but there is one key difference with Tatum. He has the length, talent and unlimited array of moves that allow him to always get off a good shot.


In the regular season, Jayson hit 43% on 3-pointers and 83% on free throws. His scoring went from 13.9PPG in the regular season to 18.5 PPG in the playoffs. The kid can shoot the rock, and had he been given the green light in Game Seven of the ECF's, the Celtics may have very well gone on to meet the Golden State Warriors for the Title.

Well, Tatum has been working with Kobe Bryant over the summer, and the Black Mamba has given Jayson the green light to light-it-up on the court. Bird and Pierce demanded the ball with the game on the line. The bonus in Jayson becoming a feared clutch shooter is that, particularly if he keeps improving his passing skills, he becomes one of several last-second options for Boston - with opponents wondering who will be the guy to take the last shot. I marvel at just how good this team can be.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America



Tom Lane 9/24/2018 05:37:00 AM Edit
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