• Gus Saltonstall

The Rise of Jayson Tatum

Updated: Feb 29, 2020

The stock market might be plummeting, but my God, if Jayson Tatum were a trading option, cash in the life savings.

The meteoric rise of Tatum into a full fledged superstar during the month of February has been one of the best storylines of the season.

In his last 10 games, Tatum is averaging 31.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals on 52.7 percent shooting from the field and a scorching 50 percent clip from behind the three-point line.

During this collection of contests, Tatum set a career-high mark in three-pointers made in a 36-point, eight three-pointers made performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on the road, and looked like the best player on the floor in a 41 point display against the Los Angeles Lakers in one of the most-entertaining games of the season.

Tatum balled so hard LeBron James took to Instagram that night to post a picture with the Celtics small-forward. “That boi to the left of me is an ABSOLUTE PROBLEM!! Keep going #YoungKing,” the caption read.

In his last five games, Tatum has scored 39, 28, 41, 36 and 33 points, and he’s doing it in a variety of ways. With any sport, when someone starts finding success, the phrase “the game is slowing down for them” gets thrown around, and this couldn’t seem more true for Tatum right now.

The man is giving opponents buckets in more ways than you can count. Hitting people with straight-up unguardable step-back to the right three-pointers, or using a screen from Daniel Theis to get his defender on his hip before extending towards the hoop finishing with a high floater off the glass.

The chemistry of Tatum and Theis deserves its own article, but for the time being this quote from Jayson is enough. “I told Theis I’m going to get something for his birthday,” Tatum told reporters after a recent game. “Like a watch or something. Especially for me, he opens the game up so much with getting me easy buckets.”

The Celtics have reaped the benefits from Tatum and the rest of the roster’s recent strong play, going 8-2 in the last 10 games and posting a 16-4 record in their last 20. The Boston squad has closed the gap to only one game behind the second place Toronto Raptors and now sit five games ahead of the fourth place Miami Heat.

If the Celtics are able to lock down the second seed, it’s hard to imagine that Boston won’t be able to ride home-court to a match up with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tatum vs. Antetokounmpo for a chance to play in the NBA Final? Count me in.

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