There might not be a player on this year's 20 Under 25 list with more on his shoulders than Jayson Tatum.

His rookie year suggested he was a superstar in the making. His second season could be described as a bit of a detour. Now, with the Celtics having experienced a net loss of one star (Kyrie and Al out, Kemba in), Boston really needs Tatum to become one of the best players in the league.

The 21-year-old certainly plans on stardom. After being disappointed to see his NBA2K rating drop from 87 to 85 for the coming season, Tatum declared he would average 20 points a game this season (a healthy leap from his sophomore average of 15.7), would become an All-Star for the first time and help the Celtics reach the NBA Finals.

You can question the validity of all three (especially the Finals; Tatum’s play can’t magically grow the team a frontcourt), but the first two should be considered within reach. After all, he did average 18.5 points a game in 19 playoff games as a rookie.  

So while Tatum’s regular-season numbers got better from Year 1 to Year 2, few saw Tatum’s second season as a positive given that his points per game (15.7) were down from what he’d done in the playoffs in Year 1. Plus, his player efficiency rating went from from 15.29 as a rookie to 15.13 last season.

Watching Tatum, shot selection seemed to be what prevented him from really taking off in his second year. Reportedly working on getting the long 2s out of his game, the sky is once again the limit for one of the most talented Boston athletes -- regardless of age.


If he reaches his potential, he’ll be one of the top players in the league. If he turns in more of what he did last year, he’ll go down as one of the bigger teases in Boston sports. 

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