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Photo of Jayson Tatum courtesy of USA Today Sports

Jayson Tatum couldn’t buy a bucket in Monday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. He finished the night shooting a frigid 1-18. Bad shooting nights happen all the time, right? Yes, but his last game has only been matched two other times in the past 40 years.


The sky isn’t falling, though. I’d go as far to say that you shouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Why? Well, because Brad Stevens isn’t.


Tatum is shooting an uncharacteristic 39% from the field through the Boston Celtics first nine games. He shot 47.5% in his rookie season and followed that up with a respectable 45% in his sophomore campaign.

Celtics fans have been known to clamor for more shots from Tatum. Now that he’s getting them, they just aren’t going in. More volume is usually counter to efficiency, but even if he doesn’t hit all his shots at the same clip, his numbers will soar if he just approaches his previous marks

On the bright side, Tatum is shooting a very impressive 42.1% from three point range. He’s just not hitting his two’s. Inside ten feet, he’s only finishing 44.6% of his shots this season. That is compared to 58.2% last season and 64% from his rookie year.

What this tells me is that he’s off to a cold start from close to the basket (insert obviously.gif here). He’s never been viewed as an elite finisher, but he is a lot better than what he’s shown so far in 2019.

Tatum’s shooting will improve. His shot selection has seemingly improved; we’re seeing less mid-range/long two’s. These are good things. But above all, Tatum is not messing around. After the game on Monday, Tatum took to Snapchat with some humility. The most impressive part is that it seemed like he was going to get up some shots after the poor shooting night. With his hard work and will to be great, I’m confident it’s coming.


Despite Tatum’s inefficient shooting, the Celtics have been a lot better with him on the floor. Although I don’t love the plus/minus stat because it can be skewed in shorter sample sizes, Tatum’s +114 through nine games is impressive nonetheless. It speaks volumes to the Celtics team as a whole and Tatum’s overall improvement that he is head and shoulders above the rest of the league. The Celtics can still win games when one of their best players finds himself in the history books for the wrong reasons.


So, please, do not lose any sleep over Jayson Tatum’s bad shooting night.

You can find me on Twitter @Mike_Auc.

MikeAuc 11/12/2019 10:19:00 PM Edit
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