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CelticsBlog film room: Tatum’s side-step jumper

A deep dive into the mechanics of Tatum’s favorite isolation move

NBA: Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No matter how deep their bag, every superstar needs a signature move.

When the clock is ticking down and the possession is on the line, all the greats have confidence in one move they can go to and execute. Regardless of the defense or the situation, Jayson Tatum appears to have found the shot that he can pull off no matter what — the side-step jumper.

Tatum has emerged as one of the league’s premier jump shooters and isolation scorers over the last few seasons. He makes some absurd shots with a high degree of difficulty, spinning his body around and using his slow, high-release form to throw off his defender’s timing. He’s got fantastic footwork, uses his shoulders well and rarely gets sped up.

But when he needs a bucket, Tatum goes to his side-step jumper. It doesn’t matter whether he’s on the left side or right side of the floor, he’s perfected this move with precise footwork, consistent technique and has been able to effectively stretch it beyond the 3-point line to give the Celtics an extra point:

What gets lost in the simplicity of his side-step jumper is in just how difficult of a shot that is to master. His momentum takes him away from the rim, so his lower body has to work extra hard to find consistency in his base. He’s taken thousands of these shots just to get to the point where it’s usable in games, and the work he’s done with personal skills trainer Drew Hanlen has unlocked the consistency of this move.

Hanlen has broken down the setup to his side-step before:

Tatum will be an All-Star starter this year, an honor that is well deserved. And he’s still only 19...

The sky is the limit for this young man. With a signature move to hang his hat on, I have a feeling we’ll see young kids emulating this side-step jumper for years to come.

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