The NBA released its All-Summer League teams on Monday. Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum was included on the Second Team. The honor, which was awarded only for play in Las Vegas (the Celtics also participated in the Utah Summer League), acknowledges Tatum’s production despite being limited, by health and Boston’s elimination from the single elimination tournament, to only three games.
Across those affairs, Tatum averaged 17.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 32.0 minutes per game, and was widely considered one of the most polished rookies of his class. He’ll need to prove that his footwork and shot-making ability translate against true, elite NBA-level athleticism, but early returns are good. Tatum’s selection to an All-Summer League Team is a reflection of that.
Let’s be clear though. This distinction is certainly not a guarantee of future success. Summer League basketball is a notoriously fickle barometer for how a player may fair in the real NBA. It wouldn’t be crazy to say that achieving such a low standard of success in such a small sample size is essentially meaningless.
Last year’s All-Summer League Second Team, however, which included fellow Celtic Jaylen Brown, was composed of five players that all found their ways into meaningful rotation minutes. In that there is some reason for hope. If a player is really going to be a major contributor at the game’s highest level, it’s not unreasonable to believe that he will perform well at every stop he makes. Tatum has done so thus far. This acknowledgement is another step in the right direction.