Celtics Freeze Frame: Jayson Tatum's path towards basketball greatness

Celtics Freeze Frame: Jayson Tatum's path towards basketball greatness

BOSTON — The coronavirus has put the NBA season on pause and in doing so, halted what has been an amazing season for Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. 

Tatum has done more than just elevate his play to All-Star status. 

He has become a force in the NBA, putting up the kind of numbers that have him elbow-to-elbow statistically with some of the greatest to ever play in the NBA. 

Tatum turned 22 years old earlier this month, but prior to that he had five straight games with at least 25 points to become the youngest player in Celtics history to do so. 

He would soon break that record with a seven-game stretch in which he scored at least 25 points. 

Tatum also had a run in which he tallied 30 or more points over the course of five straight road games, a franchise record he shares with Larry Bird. In addition, Tatum’s five straight road games of 30-plus points also made him just the second player in NBA history (LeBron James is the other) to have such a road streak over the course of five games. 

So what does that mean if the season were to resume in the coming weeks or months? 

Based on what Tatum has done and the potential he has shown to do more, it’s not a huge stretch to envision him finishing the season in the conversation as a top-10, top-15 player. 

When you look at the ease at which he scores, the level of defense that he’s playing at more consistently and of course the Celtics being among the top three or so teams in the East, it adds up to a player who's on the short list of upper-echelon talent in the NBA. 

And as we’ve seen throughout the course of the league, teams that win titles typically do so with at least one top-10 caliber talent. 

Kemba Walker is a four-time All-Star and was a starter in last month’s All-Star game. 

And while he’s working his way back from a sore left knee, even at full strength you would be hard-pressed to consider him a top-10 player. 

He’s still one of the best in the NBA, mind you. 

But Tatum’s play and undeniable potential put him on a different level of greatness, the kind that gives the Celtics real hope that a Tatum-led future will someday bring home Banner 18. 

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NBA Rumors: GMs in favor of play-in tournament when season resumes

NBA Rumors: GMs in favor of play-in tournament when season resumes

On Thursday, the NBA took another step toward figuring out the best way to return to action.

Commissioner Adam Silver held a conference call with the league's general managers to review a survey that was delivered to teams last week. In the survey, GMs voted on potential formats to resume play.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reports about 75 percent of GMs were in favor of a play-in tournament between bubble teams rather than a World Cup-style group stage. Front-running teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks favored the play-in tourney as it would give them a far easier path to the NBA Finals.

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More from O'Connor:

General managers were surveyed about a 'playoffs-plus' format—either a play-in tournament between the bubble teams to determine the final seeds in the playoffs, or a World Cup–style group stage, which would replace the end of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs with a round-robin format. About 75 percent of teams voted in favor of a play-in tournament, sources said, while 25 percent of teams voted in favor of the group stage.

Although many GMs are in favor of the play-in tournament, that doesn't mean the league will go in that direction.

“Adam [Silver] isn’t taking the results seriously,” a team executive told O'Connor. “Every team is obviously gonna vote for what’s best for them.”

Still, it's a noteworthy development and one that could not only impact how the NBA proceeds with its 2019-20 campaign, but also how it approaches future playoff formats.

For more details from O'Connor, check out his full article here.

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Celtics At Home: Daniel Theis recalls experience playing games without fans

Celtics At Home: Daniel Theis recalls experience playing games without fans

The Boston Celtics hosting a playoff game in an empty arena would be a bizarre experience.

Take it from the guy who's played in front of empty arenas.

Celtics big man Daniel Theis played several years of professional basketball in his native Germany before joining the C's in 2017. On the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics At Home," Theis explained that preseason games often didn't have fans, which created an atmosphere he didn't exactly enjoy.

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"It's definitely weird just thinking about it," Theis told host Brian Scalabrine. "Thinking back for me, playing in Germany in preseason games when you have scrimmages and no fans in there. You hear every voice, every word, every step. It's annoying."

Games without fans could be the NBA's new reality as it aims to safely resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic. Germany's top soccer league, the Bundesliga -- which Theis has been following intently -- is already playing games in empty arenas.

But while Theis wants to get back on the court, he doesn't sound thrilled about playing games without fans again -- especially if that means losing the home-crowd advantage that Boston provides.

"When I watched the soccer games this weekend, it was just -- it didn't feel right," Theis said. "Especially in Boston, when it comes to the playoffs and the fans at TD Garden are so important and so loud ... Then I can imagine now just playing a playoff game with nobody in there, it feels probably like a practice game or scrimmage."

Theis also discussed some of the Celtics' best Zoom guest speakers during Episode Three of "Celtics At Home," which includes guest appearances from C's legends Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Walton.

Check out the full episode of "Celtics At Home" below or on our YouTube page: