However, on an August 5 airing of NBA Today, former NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins listed Tatum 4th on his “Top Five Under 25” list. While making a top-five list is certainly not a form of disrespect, the fact that Tatum was named fourth, one spot below Trae Young, is enough to leave you scratching your head.
Granted, Young is an exceptional offensive talent, who excels at both scoring and playmaking, but his defensive deficiencies are well documented, whereas Tatum has improved his defense to a borderline elite level and has drastically improved as a defensive rebounder too.
Perkins: list looks like this:
- Luka Doncic
- Ja Morant
- Trae Young
- Jayson Tatum
- Anthony Edwards
Given Tatum’s recent post-season success, and genuine two-way ability (meaning he can play both offense and defense at a high level) it is fair to question why Morant and Young are both above him, given their one-dimensional game.
Tatum Pays no Attention to What’s Said About Him
Being the face of a franchise often means you deal with increased media scrutiny, both from the local and national press – and Tatum is no different. In fact, throughout the NBA finals, Tatum was widely questioned for his subdued performances, despite clearly nursing a slight shoulder injury throughout the series.
Jaylen Brown finds himself in a similar position and has recently found himself in the media, courtesy of the current trade rumors surrounding him and Kevin Durant. However, during an August 5 appearance on the CelticsLab podcast, Tatum explained why he rarely pays attention to what’s said in the media.
“It’s just the world we live in, right? It always comes from an anonymous source. But it always makes ESPN or Twitter or whatever, and everybody sees it. So you never know what is true and what’s not true, but it gets people to talk about it, and I guess that’s the idea. They got what they wanted out of the deal, for people to talk about it and make speculations,” Tatum told Celtics Lab’s, Justin Quinn.
Brown is Brooklyn’s ‘Biggest Prize’
Regardless of if Tatum or Brown are paying attention to the trade rumors, the fact remains that they’re continuing to float around the media sphere, and usually, when there’s this much smoke, there is some level of truth to the situation.
It’s also worth remembering that Brown is widely considered as the premium return in any deal for Durant, given most teams’ reluctance to trade for the aging superstar forward – primarily due to the Brooklyn Nets’ high asking price.
Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey tends to agree with the notion that Brooklyn couldn’t do better than Brown, as he listed the Georgia native as the Nets ‘biggest prize’ should they decide to let their talismanic scorer leave before the season begins.
“Regardless of who goes with him, Brown appears likely to be the biggest prize in Brooklyn’s sights. The 25-year-old is coming off a playoff run to the Finals in which he averaged 23.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.5 threes. He’s made an All-Star team and he just finished 2021-22 tied for 15th in defensive win shares (a number typically dominated by big men),” Bailey wrote on August 3.
However, Brown still has two years left on his remaining deal and was a core part of what made the Celtics so difficult to defeat this past season – so it does seem unlikely Boston would meet Brooklyn’s current asking price.