The 2017-2018 class of NBA rookies was one for the ages, both in term’s of talent at the top and overall depth. The seasons put together by Ben Simmons (yes for the purpose of this exercise we are calling him a rookie) Donovan Mitchell, and of course Boston’s Jayson Tatum were bordering on historic. It was Simmons who ultimately took home Rookie of the Year honors but the debate over who will go on to have the best NBA career rages on.
Former ESPN Basketball analyst J.A. Adande says Tatum is the one he’d hitch his wagon to.
While Tatum has famously modeled his game after boyhood idol Kobe Bryant, Adande drew a comparison to a different NBA Superstar.
“I’d like to see him [Tatum] a little more multi-dimensional, but I think he can add those things the way we saw Kevin Durant round out his game. The guy was a natural scorer, but I think we’ve seen Kevin Durant really round out his game. Maybe, Jayson Tatum can do that.”
If Tatum can be even 80-90 percent the player Durant is he’s headed for a potential Hall of Fame career. And while the comparison seems on the surface a bit far-fetched at closer look it’s not actually that much of a stretch.
Like Durant, Tatum was a natural scorer in college with a fairly refined offensive game. Durant averaged 20.3 points per game in his rookie season to Tatum’s 13.9. But in terms off efficiency the Celtics phenom has a decided edge. Playing for a 20 win Seattle Sonics team Durant was forced to shoot more, hoisting 17 shots per game (7 more than Tatum) Durant shot far worse from the field (43% to 47.5%) and from the 3 point line (28.8% for Durant to a scorching 43.4% for Tatum.)
And if the Tatum can’t become Durant maybe he can learn a little something from him. The two were recently seen palling around together in the Bahamas.
“Maybe he’s learning from Durant as there are some viral videos of them dancing in the Bahamas. Maybe, in addition to picking up some dance moves he can learn some other things from Kevin Durant”.
Column By Ryan Whitfield for CLNS Media and CelticsBlog
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