Jayson Tatum is sure to become the upcoming superstar in the NBA. We take a look at some possible career paths for Tatum.
Jayson Tatum is going to be a star in the NBA for many years to come. That is not in question. It hasn’t been in question for much of his short 18 month NBA career. It’s rare to find a player so adept at all things basketball at such a young age, on a team seriously contending for the Conference title at the very least.
But Tatum has everything in his arsenal and is yet only 20 years old. His game is going to grow a lot more and when he reaches his final form there is no question about whether he will be an All Star or not.
But the Celtics are in the arms race. The era of superstars buddying up, brought about by the Warriors, has changed the mindset of every NBA team and there’s a whole bunch of NBA teams that are looking to build the next NBA dynasty of their own.
Mike Conley had a huge lead… but Jayson Tatum wasn’t having it pic.twitter.com/TWc4GK9dIb
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) February 17, 2019
Jayson Tatum became the first Celtics player in franchise history to win the NBA Skills Challenge. pic.twitter.com/9VbN1QuYD7
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 17, 2019
Boston Celtics are in the prime position to be the team that can be a serious contender for the next super-team.
But there are a few different paths they can take to make this happen. Which of these 3 paths they choose will decide how we see the potential of Jayson Tatum mature into a superstar.
Scenario 1: Boston Celtics trade Jayson Tatum and a host of other stars & picks to New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis
This scenario only happens if Kyrie signs a new deal with the Celtics this season, Celtics can get an informal agreement from Davis that he will commit long term and re-sign with them in his 2020 free agency, and Pelicans accept the package offered by Celtics.
This scenario while sounding so-so off the bat, might be the best path to stardom for Jayson Tatum. What he gets in Pelicans is a blank canvas.
Picks that will turn into good players (assuming Pelicans can sort their stuff and actually draft well under new management), good support cast that comes with him from Boston and Jrue Holiday a borderline all-star, who is only not an all-star because we only appreciate offense in this damn league.
Tatum will be the centrepiece of the Pelicans team and they will do everything to ensure his talents are maximized. They gave up on a whole lot of assets from the Lakers presumably for the opportunity to get their hands on Jayson Tatum and that means a whole rebuild around his talent.
Tatum will get big minutes, a lot of offense will go through him and he will have an able cast around him that can be tailored to fit his natural game.
Scenario 2: Boston fail to sign Kyrie to an extension and through that fail to get a commitment from Davis and decide to build around Jayson Tatum and their boatload of assets.
Kyrie is the biggest factor in this whole saga. In his hands lies the future of the Eastern Conference of the NBA and whether Celtics become instant contenders or they begin a rebuild again, well a Celtics rebuild so not a lot of losing (looking at you Knicks and Suns) to be fair.
This scenario makes Tatum the fulcrum of the team and the star around whom Celtics build. It doesn’t differ greatly from his scenario at the Pelicans, except a couple of years down the line Tatum might be in the position where Kyrie is today.
Boston is a huge market for NBA and sports in general and in a couple of years time, after he has had the time to build up his own personal resume running an offense, Tatum will have all the opportunity to go to All-Star games and try and recruit players to join him at Boston to build a new dynasty.
There is hardly any front office that is better at stockpiling assets and turning them into effective role players when they don’t trade them away.
With Tatum and a whole lot of cap space Celtics might have a delayed timeline, but they will build a good team in a couple of years. In those years look for Tatum to break out the way Davis did in New Orleans or Karl Anthony Towns is doing in Minnesota.
Scenario 3 – The Lakers turn their eyes to free agency, offers for Davis don’t match up to the Lakers mid-season offer. Danny Ainge refuses to offer Tatum but offers a whole lot else and Pelicans have no choice but to send Davis.
This scenario does not happen if the Lakers fail to draw the attention of the big name free agents and refocus on their pursuit of Anthony Davis.
However, imagine if Durant lands in LA. Lakers have no interest in Davis any more due to cap space limitations. Other teams cannot match Celtics offer even without Tatum unless a major team decides to take a chance and sends a future star of the calibre of Tatum.
It is definitely possible that Ainge sees this opportunity and pounces, creating a big 3 around Davis, Irving and Tatum.
If this scenario plays out, Jayson Tatum’s growth might slow down a bit, but he has so far as a rookie and sophomore done remarkably well while still being surrounded by a lot of great talent.
Kyrie and Davis will definitely be the first and second options on the Celtics team, relegating Tatum to the role of 3rd option on the offense. For much of this season, Tatum has demanded the ball on offense and played a bit more iso-ball than the Celts would’ve liked.
But once Hayward and Kyrie were back healthy, Tatum has shown the maturity to play within the offense and still be effective. Playing alongside Kyrie and AD is sure to give him more favourable match-ups on offense that he can exploit.
And by the time Kyrie and Davis’ contracts run their course, Tatum would be at his prime (24/25 yrs old) and ready to be the centrepiece of the storied franchise as it would look to build its next great roster.