Has Jayson Tatum solidified a spot in the starting line?
After the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics fans were initially left in awe. Then after reality set in, they were left with the question, who can step up and be the second go to scorer?
One would think veteran Al Horford, or sophomore shooting guard Jaylen Brown would pick up the slack. Both players have played impeccable, however Jayson Tatum has been the biggest surprise of the season averaging 15.2 points, 6.6 boards, 2 assists while shooting 47.9% from the field.
The rookie is picking up right where he left off at Duke University and Summer League, where critics wondered if he could play at such a high level as a rookie. He has proved he can play ball, by putting his polished stroke and versatile scoring on display during his first five NBA games.
Watch as Tatum uses his slashing ability to get to the rim for an easy bucket.
Standing at 6 foot 8, Tatum is able to use his high release point in order to shoot over smaller defenders. This is one reason he is shooting 50% from behind the arc, while shooting 87% from the free throw line. Defenders now have to respect his shot, leading them to play close defense on him, allowing Tatum to use his dribbling ability to get to the rim.
With Tatum in the starting lineup, it gives the Celtics the option to play small ball, where he has prevailed thus far in his career. His defense has been an addition to a Celtics team who has the third best defense in the NBA. After trading away their two best defenders, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, the Celtics are playing even better defense than last year.
Watch how Tatum plays tight defense which leads to an easy bucket on the opposite side of the court.
When Marcus Morris comes back from his injury, Brad Stevens will have a tough decision picking his starting five. Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford are surefire starters, however Tatum has proven he belongs as starter.
With this being said, Stevens will have to choose to start Aaron Baynes, Daniel Theis or Marcus Morris as his fifth starter. A line up of Irving, Brown, Tatum, (Baynes, Theis or Morris) and Al Horford would a force to be reckoned with in a weak Eastern Conference.