Jayson Tatum: Forward – Duke, Turns 20 next March
Measurables: 6-8, 205 lbs., 6-11 wingspan
Strengths: Isolation Scoring, Size, Offensive Versatility, Smooth, Confidence
Weaknesses: Defense, Explosiveness, Shooting Range, Energy
Conclusion: Tatum is possibly the most pro-ready prospect in this class. He is the type of player who excels in isolation, and he will have the composure and ability to take a shot he has confidence in making. Jayson gets good position in the post due to solid size and strength. He is effective finishing with both hands on quick moves to the rim, as well as taking fadeaways and mid-range jumpers. His three-point shooting at the college level was concerning though. Even though he made 14 consecutive NBA 3’s in a combine workout, he’ll need to prove he can be an outside shooting threat. Although Luke Kennard was the primary initiator of the offense in Jayson’s freshman year at Duke, Tatum will also need to improve on being more of a playmaker instead of forcing up his own shots.
Offensively, Tatum looks like a sure bet to become an effective scorer even against higher competition. Defensively, he looks just as sure to struggle. His lateral movement is subpar and his instincts don’t seem that great. He is definitely not big enough to be a center, and looks like a tweener forward, as neither his post defense nor perimeter defense are above average. Tatum does have a great body to fill out and develop into an effective defender if he works hard and learns proper mechanics. Essentially, it will take Tatum diversifying his offensive playmaking and defensive versatility to be worthy of a top-5 pick in a strong lottery this year. Scouts rave about his character and work ethic, so he should show incremental progress throughout his career.