Celtics

Evaluating Jayson Tatum’s All-NBA Chances

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Jayson Tatum has elevated his game this season to move him into the discussion of the league’s elite. Entering his third year in the league, it was crucial that Tatum show improvement after a disappointing sophomore season.

He made his first All-Star team, and after a scorching-hot February, Tatum catapulted himself into the top-10 player conversation. The NBA is loaded with talent at the forward position, however, so an All-NBA bid is not guaranteed.

Career Year

Tatum has put up a career-high 23.6 points per game this season. He is also averaging career highs in rebounds (7.1), assists (2.9), steals (1.4) and blocks (0.9). A key reason for Tatum’s increased scoring is he’s taking less mid-range shots and more three pointers.

He’s shooting 39.8 percent from three and has made the side-step three his go-to shot. More responsibility as a ball handler has been placed on Tatum this season, too, as he leads the Celtics in usage (not counting Tacko Fall) at 27.9 percent.

February Leap

Tatum saw himself go from an All-Star player to an All-NBA candidate in February. He took home Eastern Conference Player Of The Month after averaging 30.7 points per game. This came against elite competition as well, as he dropped 30 points on Kawhi in a win over the Clippers.

He then followed up with 41 against LeBron and the Lakers with Kemba Walker out for Boston. The month of February firmly put Tatum into the discussion of second best player in the Eastern Conference behind Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Evaluating the All-NBA Field

The forward position is arguably the deepest in terms of top-end talent in the league. The first team is easily set with LeBron and Giannis. LeBron, however, could be viewed as a guard as he has played point guard for the Lakers this season. Will Anthony Davis be voted as a center, or will he take another forward position?

Kawhi is next in line at the forward position. After those three is where it gets tricky. Tatum and Pascal Siakam have near identical stat-lines this season and their teams have similar records.

Meanwhile, Khris Middleton is putting up nearly 50-40-90 shooting marks and has been the second-best player for the Bucks this season. Finally, Jimmy Butler is borderline to make an All-NBA team, as his stats are worse than those mentioned above. His impact for the Miami Heat can’t go unnoticed, however.

Final Verdict

Tatum will edge out Siakam and Middleton to join Kawhi on the All-NBA second team. If you are questioning this, just look at huge Celtics fan and leader of the Jayson Tatum fan club, Nick Wright’s All-NBA team predictions and you will see Tatum on there.

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About Mason Urban

Sports writer for The Spectrum newspaper and contributor for The Lead Sports Media

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