Jayson Tatum could be set for an all-time great 3 point shooting career
Last season, Jayson Tatum received some criticism for his sophomore outing as he did not make the jump many expected him to after his very impressive rookie year. One of the handful of critiques he received involved the drop in his shooting percentages, mainly his three-point, which fell from 43% to 37% in his second season.
Jayson Tatum celebrates a three-pointer against the Milwaukee Bucks in the TD Garden. Photo via Maddie Meyer
He said that their focus would be primarily set on both his three-point shooting and finishing at the rim for more high-percentage shots. Even though they will work on his long ball, Hanlen also pointed out that he feels people are overcriticizing Tatum's long-range shooting, saying:
“I think people overcriticize him. If he would have shot 37 percent his rookie season, everyone would have freaked out, and now he shot 37 and people look at is as a drop-off. But I think there was just some frustration with him not being in the role he thought he would be in after the previous season.”
Well now, just a few weeks later, Hanlen continues to reaffirm his opinion on Tatum's impressive three-point shooting at this early stage of his career. He tweeted out this statistic comparing Jayson's long-range stats to some of the league's all-time greats.
Was checking a few stats out yesterday & came across this... Only 9 players in NBA history have made 220+ threes while shooting at least 40% in their first two seasons. @jaytatum0pic.twitter.com/CFSbZdW0Em
In the tweet, Tatum was included in a list of only nine NBA players to have made more than 220 three-pointers in their first two seasons while also shooting above 40% in total. The list includes some people you may have heard of that went on to become a few of the best three-point shooting individuals in NBA history like Kyle Korver, Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry.
While Tatum's total three-pointers are the lowest on the list, that could have more to do with his role on the Celtics thus far than anything else. With the exceptions of Luther Head and Wesley Person, none of the players on that list at that point in their careers played on contending teams with deep rosters and one or two all-star caliber players. Most of them were on lottery level teams and thus got more touches and more opportunity on a nightly basis to go out and do what they do, shoot threes.
Not only does Tatum have much more of an overall offensive game than most of the eight other players, but he also has yet to play a full season in the NBA where he is a definitive one or two option on offense for Boston. Ever since he was drafted, the Celtics have had deep teams with a lot of players who need touches as well, such as Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and even as recently as last year upon his return from injury Gordon Hayward.
Jayson Tatum and former Celtics' point guard Kyrie Irving celebrating a big three-point shot. Photo via Winslow Townson
This is not necessarily an excuse, as obviously it is very possible that with more touches and shot attempts Tatum's three-point percentage could have easily dropped just as it could have risen, but his role on the team in both of his first two seasons certainly had an effect on his total three-pointers.
Nonetheless, his percentage is the only thing that should matter in this case and Hanlen certainly knows that. He can only make the shots he takes, so with a percentage like this his he is definitely making the most of it.
As Tatum continues to play for Team USA while they get closer and closer to the FIBA World Cup in September, it is good to see Hanlen throw out a quick confidence booster after what many considered to be a disappointing sophomore year.
As for what the future may hold, obviously, we don't know if Tatum will finish his career amongst the greatest three-point shooters of all time, but what we do know is that he has an insane amount of potential that he may be just on the verge of cracking. For now, we will just have to wait to see before the new-look Celtics kick off their season in October of 2019.