How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

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How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:41 am

https://www.celticsblog.com/2017/6/24/15860892/the-power-of-creation-analyzing-the-offensive-impact-of-jayson-tatum




How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?



by Alex Kungu@Kungu_NBA  


Jun 24, 2017, 11:40am EDT



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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports




The Celtics’ plan all along was to get another scorer that could help the take the pressure off of Isaiah Thomas. That man was once thought to be Markelle Fultz, but the Celtics had their eyes on another prize throughout this entire process, and on Thursday they cashed in by selecting Jayson Tatum of Duke. This was the guy that the Celtics had number 1 on their board. Not Markelle Fultz, not Lonzo Ball, not Josh Jackson, but Jayson Tatum. The smooth-scoring wing had Ainge in a downright jovial mood during his post-draft conference. But why? What should we actually make of this kid?


Who is Jayson Tatum

Standing at 6’9” with a 6’11” wingspan and weighing roughly 205 lbs, Tatum has a lean, lanky body that’s expected to fill during the duration of his career. Tatum has the physical profile to become an effective two-way versatile player, and the Celtics have already told him such:

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Simply put, the Celtics know where the league is going as do most teams in the league. The more you can do, the better, specifically in the playoffs. What separated Tatum from some of the other talented wings in the draft such as Josh Jackson and Jonathan Isaac was his ability to score. As. good as the Celtics were last year, the lack of creators really limited them offensively in the playoffs. Too much of their success was tied to the system, and though that speaks volumes about how well-coached the team was, every once in awhile you just need a guy who can get you a bucket regardless of how well-prepared the other team is for your sets. Tatum has the potential to be one of those guys.


How does Tatum’s game translate to the Celtics’ system?

Tatum is probably neck and neck with Markelle Fultz when it comes to offensive polish. Because he’s not necessarily a guy who’s going to beat defenders by blowing by them with elite athleticism or burst, Tatum uses an array of awesome stepbacks, jab steps, spin moves, dirk fadeaway, crossovers, etc. to gain his separation from defenders.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/WeirdContentAmericanindianhorse


On a team like Boston that prides itself on keeping the ball moving and making good decisions, plays like this highlight the value of what Tatum can do. Here, the important thing actually wasn’t the bucket, but his ability to grab the rebound and go. Because he pushed the ball himself, Clemson wasn’t able to match up properly which got him the mismatch in the post. Great ball movement, willing passers, and wings who ‘grab and go’ put tremendous pressure on the defense and can lead to guys being forced into compromising matchups. Tatum gave glimpses of player that can not only aid in creating those matchups, but one that knows to exploit them as well.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/ShadowyRecentEsok


Now watch on this play below against Notre Dame. As soon Tatum realizes Notre Dame opted to play man defense to start the game and sees the lengthy but smaller V.J. Beachem on him, he immediately gets to his spot and gets separation with a dirk-esque fadeaway. These are just skills that aren’t normally found in a prospect who just turned 19.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/EarnestUncomfortableAsiansmallclawedotter


After missing the first 9 games during the season with a foot injury, Tatum used the earlier part of the year to kind of get acclimated to his role and what Coach K wanted, but by the beginning of February he really started to find his groove. During that second half of the season Tatum averaged 17.5ppg, 7.2rpg, 2.3apg, 1.1spg, shot 46 FG%, 37.6 3P%, and shot 82 FT% on about 4.6 attempts per game. Duke relied on Tatum for scoring production, and he really improved more and more as the year went on.

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Some of the criticism that Tatum gets is that his game is too mid-range oriented, and it doesn’t translate well to the NBA level. Let’s take a look at Tatum’s offensive play type breakdown via Synergy:


(Photo credit to Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston)

In his lone year at Duke, Tatum’s offensive game was primarily based on Spot-ups, Isolation, and pushing in transition. Because of the amount of Isolations, there’s an assumption that his game is primarily only based on holding the ball for long periods of time and trying to score; something he won’t be able to do as well as he did in college. On one hand I agree, isolation is a highly inefficient way to score, and the competition will in fact be tougher. However, Tatum’s isolation possessions weren’t the prototypical “clear-out” plays that we’ve seen, but they came within in the flow of the offense. Take his play for example:

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/ImpoliteMassiveAfricanporcupine


Tatum pushes, causes mismatch, gets position, and scores. It’s within this context where Tatum’s isolation skill is at its best and it comes within the offense. So it comes at no surprise that Coach Stevens told A. Sherrod Blakely that, “ [Tatum] fits not only how we play, but how we want to play.”

I’d also like to point your attention to Tatum’s ability in the pick and roll as a ball-handler where he generates a solid 1.09ppp.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/AridMeatyKodiakbear


You’ll notice that these type of plays only makeup 4.2% of his offense which is no fault of his own. The college and NBA game are vastly different creatures. While the NBA is player-oriented and is driven by their talent, the NCAA is very coach-oriented and predicated on systems. The pick and roll game isn’t a main recipe for every college team and Duke wasn’t one them since they played without a true point guard. The Blue Devils obviously did well without one, but what it meant was that Tatum didn’t get a lot of opportunities to play in the pick and roll where his game would have the potential to be an absolute nightmare for opposing teams. At the next-level and even as soon as summer league he’ll be put in those situations in a lot of half-court sets, and he’ll be able to use his elite set of offensive moves in the favorable situations that pick and rolls usually create for the screener.

A similar situation can be found in his limited post-up game despite being arguably the best prospect at it.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/TautKindDamselfly


Tatum is a smooth operator in the post who is comfortable with his back to the basket and has an awesome feel from the position. Even though big men that post-up are no longer a strong part of NBA offenses, posting up is still very much a thing that teams do because it’s a great set to run offense through. We saw this a lot from the Celtics with Marcus Smart this year who flourished running the offense from the post whenever opposing teams put a smaller guard on him. In Tatum’s case this could prove even more effective because unlike Smart he has multiple moves he can actually use effectively, and his size coupled with that ability makes the defense more prone to collpase.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/ShyGrippingFiddlercrab


In the play above, the defense simply off instincts saw the mismatch Tatum had created and rotated over to help on Tatum. Tatum instantly sees the defense breakdown because he never stopped surveying the floor and luckily his teammate saw the play and made an excellent cut. Even in a free-flowing pass and go offense this type of skill-set is a wonderful tool because it gives the defense another avenue to get the defense on its heels.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/DistortedSimilarElectriceel


Jayson Tatum is not Kevin Durant, but in a situation where he’s matched up on a player as small as Cameron Payne it could make the defense make the same mistake due to his terrific size.


So what can Tatum become?

Tatum’s offensive polish is such a valuable tool because it gives him the ability to play effectively in the type of offense the Celtics have while giving the team a scoring punch who can go get his own shot. I imagine the Celtics envision that at 19, they’ll be able to mold him into a versatile wing who can be either the ball-handler or roll-man in the pick and roll, lead the break or fill the gaps in transition, and give the Celtics a wing who can exploit mismatches when teams try to hide a weak defender on him. Like all rookies, Tatum has areas to improve on such as his tendency to stop the ball, take too long to make decisions with the basketball, and shoot the three more consistently. But the toolbox for Jayson Tatum’s game is full, now it’s up to the Celtics to build their star.



bob
MY NOTE: I'll come back and comment on this later. Just wanted to post it so you can get a head start.


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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by bobheckler on Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:42 pm




So, what's this about?

46% of his shots were spot ups (catch-and-shoots, I guess) and isos.  We are already a spot up team, we need another skill and, even so, he is only "average".  Isos might be good, we will see how his 206# body can handle contact.  Add in transition and we have accounted for 63% and he is "very good" in only one category and worse than that in the other two.

In fact, he is "excellent" in only 2 categories, only 12% of his shots, and they are post ups and miscellaneous (whatever that means).  A 206# post up player...in the NBA.  I would be thrilled if he will still be excellent at that with 6'8" 230# SF on him.


bob

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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by NYCelt on Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:55 pm

How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Like the well machined gears in a fine luxury automobile.  Tatum was just about universally regarded as the most NBA ready player in the draft for a reason.  His role with Boston may differ slightly from what we saw with Duke, but the skills and IQ he displayed show you all you need to know.  Thanks to the many program options in most cable or satellite TV packages, you can catch replays of this past NCAA basketball (or football...On Wisconsin, Go Badgers) season.  If you haven't already seen a ton of Tatum's games, I encourage a quick program search to locate a couple.  Skip the meaningless selective stats and YouTube video clips made in mom's basement and watch the real thing.

Danny and crew got it right this year.
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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by BleedGreen on Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:57 pm

Amazing article and post. Thanks for sharing! I'm new to the forum and am here for informative intelligent posts like that. Much appreciated!

To me it is clear that in 'positionless basketball' the Celtics have done well for themselves with a 1/2 in Smart, 2/3 in Brown, 3/4 in Tatum and 4/5 in Horford. These four can be on the court next season with all sorts of other players who are more pigeonholed into one traditional position like Thomas at PG and Zizic at center.

Crowder is another 3/4 who looks to be on his way out of town along with Bradley, who is strictly a SG. Both players are favorites of mine and most fans who bleed green so they will be missed if they do go, but hopefully it is all part of a plan that bring #18!
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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by BleedGreen on Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:04 pm

The Celtics needed a player with a mid-range game who can create his own offense. Tatum fits the bill.

In most of the highlight videos I've watched of him a successful play is his post-up and kick out. You rarely have to worry about Crowder backing a guy down from the elbow to the middle of the paint and having a handful of skill score moves. Tatum does. Or he kicks it out to spot-up, guys who the C's have.

This is why I was surprised to see post-ups being only 6% of his offense. I'm sure those and transition O will be on the uptick in the pros and spot-ups down.
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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by dboss on Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:51 pm

I think that DA drafted Tatum so that Boston could play more small ball and he could play some PF.  I think Brown is ready to take on a 20+ MPG role and Tatum will get 12-17 MPG

It is hard to see where a player like Hayward could fit in unless we traded Crowder or decided to avoid going after a high end big.  

Now I am not so sure that Boston will go after a high end big like Griffin.  I think they may go in a different direction and sign a veteran PF/C on the cheap.  Danny spent a ton of money to get AH and I am thinking that we will not see a repeat of that unless we are getting a player like Paul George.  But even PG seems more unlikely given our roster and who we drafted.

There is a player out there that Danny has his eye on.

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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by pete on Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:21 pm

Bleedgreen,

Welcome! Hope you enjoy the forum. There is a ton of Celtics, and general basketball knowledge here (not from me so much) and tend to read more than post.

If you have any questions feel free to PM any of us.

Pete
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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by dboss on Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:05 am

The lack of girth will be a factor in how Tatum plays against bigger and stronger players. He has a nice frame and will definitely fill our sooner rather than later. But it will not happen overnight.

I think one of the more intriguing aspects of his profile is that length.

dboss



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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by cowens/oldschool on Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:13 am

BleedGreen wrote:Amazing article and post. Thanks for sharing! I'm new to the forum and am here for informative intelligent posts like that. Much appreciated!

To me it is clear that in 'positionless basketball' the Celtics have done well for themselves with a 1/2 in Smart, 2/3 in Brown, 3/4 in Tatum and 4/5 in Horford. These four can be on the court next season with all sorts of other players who are more pigeonholed into one traditional position like Thomas at PG and Zizic at center.

Crowder is another 3/4 who looks to be on his way out of town along with Bradley, who is strictly a SG. Both players are favorites of mine and most fans who bleed green so they will be missed if they do go, but hopefully it is all part of a plan that bring #18!

great analysis
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Re: How does Jayson Tatum’s game mesh in today’s NBA?

Post by red16russ11 on Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:59 pm

I've yet to see him play, but Tatum seems like a basketball PLAYER. A guy who knows how to play, and will do whatever it takes. Doesn't matter what position he plays, or covers, he just wants to be out there. Like the attitude, now just can't wait to see him play.
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