The 6’8 small forward of the Celtics, Jayson Tatum, follows a similar playoff trajectory to the 6’9 SF of the Lakers, LeBron James.
LeBron was probably the most prominent prodigy of all time coming into the NBA, and it took him three years before he made it to his first NBA Finals and eight years to win his first ring in the league.
Tatum has made his first Finals appearance after his first four years in the league, but he has had more Playoffs success than The King to date.
The Celtics haven’t missed the Playoffs since they drafted the Duke forward as 3rd overall pick in 2017. Although they were already the #1 regular-season team in the East before his arrival, the 3x All-Star led them to the Finals for the first time in 12 years.
Jayson Tatum’s 2022 Playoffs
▫️1st in points
▫️1st in assists
▫️Beat KD, Giannis, Butler
▫️4th player to average 25/5/5 to reach Finals before 25
▫️Youngest ever with 600/100/100
▫️3rd player ever with 70+ 3PM
▫️Most Assists in Finals Debut (13)
Only the beginning ☘️ pic.twitter.com/gzE35daOkj
— ☘️ (@CelticsRiley) June 18, 2022
The 24-year-old’s career playoffs numbers aren’t too close to LeBron’s, like most other NBA players, but his last two post-seasons are shockingly similar to that of the former Cleveland forward.
The first two post-seasons of LeBron James are pretty similar to Jayson Tatum’s last two, and their first Finals numbers are identical
Tatum put up 30.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks in last season’s Playoffs but played just 5 games and got knocked out at the hands of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden-led Nets. Those numbers were quite similar to James’ 2006 Playoffs run where he averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks, but he went past 1st round and played 13 games.
Here is where it’s going absurd for the biggest Kobe Bryant fan who is putting up numbers like his Lakers predecessor. With their overall Playoffs (LeBron’s 07 and Tatum’s 2022) numbers being similar, their shorting coming in the Finals has been identical.
LeBron in his first Finals: 22/7/7 while shooting 36%
Tatum in his first Finals: 22/7/7 while shooting 37%
Just give him time pic.twitter.com/0FhEZcAVph
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) June 19, 2022
AND both of them lost to an experienced championship team having a strong core – Spurs, and Warriors. Some mind-boggling stuff. Thanks to NBA Memes for bringing our attention to this.
We are not asking to keep that 22-year-old James and this year’s Tatum in the same category, but the man shouldn’t be belittled, at least by his own fans and big-time “experts” of the game, as he’s having a similar trajectory to one of the GOATs of the game.
Tatum might have thought of starting his career like his idol Kobe did, winning a chip in the first 5-years, but what it came down to is not also a failure of any sort.