Jayson Tatum has gone from “hmmm… I dunno about this” in June to “oh… ok… I think I see what Danny was thinking” in July to “DANNY AINGE THA GOAT G.M. OF ALL TIMEEEEE” right now.
Let’s face it, we freakin’ love this kid in Boston right now. And if you take a close look at his numbers like I did for Boston.com, you’ll see very strong evidence this kid is in position to make a run for Rookie of the Year.
Tatum has been impressive after about a quarter of a season. He has current averages of 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game on 49.2 percent shooting from the field, 47.6 percent from three, and 84.1 percent from the line. He’s currently sixth among rookies in scoring, but unlike most high draft picks, he’s not expected to carry as much of the team’s burden. Top-scoring rookie Ben Simmons is averaging 18.5 points per game, but if you look at the per-100 averages, things even out quite nicely:
Per 100 possessions Points per game Assists per game Rebounds per game Shooting percentage True shooting percentage Simmons 24.7 10.3 12.1 .513 .529 Tatum 22.7 2.2 9.1 .492 .630
Simmons is running the Sixers offense (and having a monster season doing so), so his assist numbers are going to far out-class Tatum’s. However, Simmons is nowhere near the shooter Tatum is, which you can see reflected in the true shooting percentage (which takes threes into account).
Simmons is the consensus leader for Rookie of the Year at this point, but Tatum’s overall numbers are right there when you even things out for usage. The shooting numbers are especially impressive considering the questions about Tatum’s range coming out of Duke.
It doesn’t end there.
Tatum is the best rookie shooter and one of the NBA’s best fourth-quarter performers. You can go to Boston.com to see how all the numbers shake out and video evidence of his smooth success so far.
There’s still about 75% of an NBA season left, but this situation has been gold for the Celtics and Tatum.