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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Jayson Tatum is becoming a star

The stakes have been aplenty, all ranging in both excitement and skepticism. Finally, I am willing, despite facing calls of impatience or the impossibility to say so now, to proclaim that the Boston Celtics have a superstar on their hands with Jayson Tatum. I am ready to die on this hill, one which some may now only call a mound, but I feel confidently will one day soon be a solidified mountain. Jayson Tatum, in just his third season in the NBA, has over the past month, and even beyond, been proving to the league and fans alike that he, and subsequently the Celtics, are a true force to be reckoned with, and such a truth is simply only just being realized. It is exciting times for the NBA, and more specifically, Boston sports as a whole. Is this claim a bold one, or one justified in even what some would say is an excruciatingly small sample size? Well, lets look at the numbers, and you will be able to judge for yourself. 

 

Two weeks ago, Jayson Tatum participated in what was his first of what surely will be aplenty of All-Star games. His earning of a spot in the game, in just now his third season in the league, shows the significant progression he has made since being drafted third overall by the Celtics in 2017, but certainly came as no surprise to anybody keeping up with the budding star. Prior to the All-Star game, Tatum was averaging 22.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, & 2.9 APG on the season, all of which were significant increases on his stats from the season prior. But what many figured was to just be the slow and steady progression of a player, actually now seems it may be something more special—that this 21-year-old may not be as far away from being ‘that guy’ as was expected. Going back now to the final game before the All-Star break, in a match-up against reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers, Tatum absolutely dominated, willing the Celtics to a double overtime win, pouring on 39 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the effort. This brief glimpse of greatness going into the break left Boston fans ecstatic and teeming for more from the young guard, and to everybody’s absolute amazement and gratitude, Tatum came back from the week off clearly with more to prove. 

 

In the time now since the All-Star break of 2020, Jayson Tatum has made a jump almost nobody saw coming. He is averaging 34.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, & 2.7 APG. The team thus far has only lost one game in the same stretch, that being a rivalry match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers, in Los Angeles, where despite questionable refereeing and the always home-catered LeBron claiming victory (by a measly two points), Tatum tied a career high with 41 points on 12 out of 20 shooting. He even got the Instagram shout out from the King following the game, in a post warming the rest of the league about this dangerous young up-and-comer, who based on his recent playing may already be here. 

 

Granted, Celtics starting point guard Kemba Walker, who too competed in the All-Star game, has been hurt and absent since the break. With the subtraction of the teams primarily ball handler, and 20+ PPG contributor himself, Tatum has obviously found himself in a more opportune position to show off and show out. Whenever the return of Kemba occurs, which likely and hopefully is soon, Tatum and his output will undoubtedly be compromised to some degree. Kemba is no Kyrie, however, and in his time now in Boston has shown his willingness to step out of Tatum’s way and allow him to flourish. While his high stats may see some decline, what’s most exciting for a Celtics fan myself is the way in which Tatum has helped increase most everybody on the team’s level of output. It is clear when watching, Tatum’s increased level of play boosts the players around him, and running mate Jaylen Brown went on record supporting such the truth and expressing how Tatum’s play has demanded higher of everybody else. In just the first game back from the break, a win against the new-look Minnesota Timberwolves, four Celtics Players had 25-plus points, led by Gordon Hayward’s 29, followed by Tatum’s 28, Theis’s 25, and Brown’s 25. The Celtics as a whole are on a roll, and led more clearly now by Jayson Tatum, seem to be heading down a limitless path. The return of Kemba should come just in time for the final playoff run at the second seed in the East (one game behind Toronto), and then it’s time for the real magic. I believe that what we’re witnessing from Tatum is truly the reveal of a Superstar, and I think that he’s just getting started—I can’t wait to see what he does next.