It’s safe to say Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was coming into his own prior to the NBA halting play amid the nation-wide pandemic. Tatum, a first-team All-Star selection in 2019-20, and still just 22-years-old, will enter the NBA restart in the Orlando bubble bolstering career highs in nearly every major statistical category.
Tatum’s play was on such a vertical incline prior to the stoppage, that he seemed to be improving a nearly game by game basis. NBC Sports Boston Justin Leger apparently not only agrees with this sentiment, he took things one step further, claiming “you could count the players on one hand who were playing better than Jayson Tatum” when the league was put on pause.
Tatum doesn’t appear ready to make Leger eat his words anytime soon, as the Celtics star made it highly-known the type of player he perceives himself as while speaking with media during a conference call on Friday.
I know what I’m capable of, what I think I’m capable of, what I’m striving for. That’s the edge that I have for myself. I step on the floor, I think I’m the best player every night.
Tatum ‘Setting the Standard Extremely High’
The star forward is aware that his budding play may be cast with some doubt due to its short timeframe. However, he doesn’t appear to be losing much sleep over it.
The Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the month of February discussed this matter when asked how he can maintain his edge when the season resumes, per Mass Live.
Just challenging myself, always setting new goals, setting the standard extremely high. Not caring what other people think of me — whether it’s really good or whether they think it was a fluke or it was just a short time span. That doesn’t really bother me.
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Tatum’s Post-ASG Numbers Were Absurd
Tatum clearly didn’t forget to pack his confidence on his way to the NBA bubble. A quick look at his stats following the NBA All-Star break, and it’s easy to see why.
On the season, Tatum is averaging a solid 23.6 points per game, good enough for the 15th-highest average league-wide. However, as Leger noted, those numbers pale in comparison to his post-All-Star game run.
Over Tatum’s 10 games following the ASG, he averaged 29.9 points per game on 47.2 percent shooting from the field, while chipping in with nearly eight rebounds and more than three assists per game.
He was also deadly from beyond the arc, hitting on 46.8 percent of his shots from 3-point range. To put that number in a better perspective, on the season, George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks leads the league in 3-point percentage with 48%, no other player currently owns a 3-point percentage above 45.3%.