Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum has shown lots of superstar potential from the time he set foot in the NBA. Tatum was one of the young players who stepped up and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season despite how they lost Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to injuries. This season, Tatum continues to show improvement in his performance, averaging 16.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals on 45.1 percent shooting from the field and 36.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Tatum was recently included in an ESPN poll about the best second-year players in the NBA. From the 18 unnamed NBA executives that participated, the 21-year-old former Duke forward finished third in the voting, ahead of De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings and behind Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. Most NBA executives have high praise for Tatum, with one calling him the “the most well-rounded” player, and another describing him as a “complementary player.”
However, some of them have doubts if Jayson Tatum can establish himself as one of the best players in the NBA. The NBA executives think that Tatum is a “very nice player” but they don’t see him as someone who could be a leader in a championship contender. One Western Conference executive went as far as comparing the Celtics forward to Carmelo Anthony.
“Tatum might be Carmelo [Anthony],” one West executive said. “He needs the ball in his hands.”
“He’s really f---ing good. But where do you play him?”— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) March 27, 2019
“(He) might be Carmelo.”
“He is f—ing fast.”
League executives rank the NBA’s four “Super Sophomores” — De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum — and assess their future value. https://t.co/HqXuDLHd5f
Carmelo Anthony may be a 10-time NBA All-Star and a future NBA Hall of Famer, but Peter Botte of The New York Post believes that being compared to him is more like an insult for Jayson Tatum than a compliment. Josh Karalis of MassLive echoed the same sentiment as Botte, adding that the Melo comparison should serve as a “warning” to Tatum to continue improving his overall performance.
“Anthony’s name was definitely used as a pejorative here, but it also serves as a warning for Tatum to keep evolving his game. Comparisons to Anthony right now are not pretty, and Tatum never wants to develop into a ball-stopping two-point specialist. Even if Anthony is a future Hall of Fame scorer, the style of play hasn’t helped his teams do much in the playoffs. As good as he was, Anthony never could lead his teams very far.”
Jayson Tatum is only 21 and still has plenty of time to improve his game. However, Tatum should already be starting to find ways to address his weaknesses on both ends of the floor if he doesn’t want to suffer the same fate as Carmelo Anthony.