With Jaylen Brown out, Jayson Tatum shows no signs of sophomore slump

With Jaylen Brown out of action last night in Boston's victory over the Heat, Jayson Tatum was the focus of much of the offense and came through. In 33 minutes, he notched 19 points, six rebounds, five assists - with only one turnover. He was a +15 for the game.

What was noteworthy in this game is that Jayson was looking to pass the ball. His five assists more than doubled his season-average of 2.1 APG. One of his assists came as the result of a behind-the-back pass from Kyrie Irving, followed by a perfect lob to Al Horford for the slam. Tatum followed that play up with his own behind-the-back feed to Gordon Hayward for the dunk. Starting in the first quarter, Tatum was looking to pass the ball.

I recently wrote about Paul Pierce volunteering to work with Jayson on driving to the hoop more and getting to the free throw line. Many of our readers felt that Tatum being tutored by Kobe Bryant was not a positive thing, and that Jayson would really blossom if given more opportunities. The following comments are from two of our readers:

Ten pounds of extra muscle would be a good start! And this Kobe obsession must end at once...

💯 Agree

Get to the line!!

Finally, lol. Jayson is an unbelievable talent. He is not far off from being an unstoppable force. Just some minor changes and improvement (ball handling) and more opportunities, which will come next year when Morris is gone.

Jaylen Brown was out last night with back issues, and that gave Tatum more looks on offense. But he wasn't forcing shots - he was taking them when they presented, making 7-of-15 from the field and 4-of-7 on 3-pointers.

I was always enamored of Kobe Bryant's skills, but not always his game. Jayson would do well to work with The Captain and pattern much of his game after Paul's style. Tatum is a good foul shooter and driving to the hoop to pick up fouls would work. A bit more strength and muscle would help with his progression - and I just love the fact he is working at distributing the rock. I saw no trace of any sophomore slump in Jayson last night. He was a key part of the offensive focus, and he came through.

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Photo via Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images