Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum has been hearing “M-V-P” chants ringing out during postseason home games at TD Garden, but one analyst is taking it a step further by anointing Tatum the all-around best player in the NBA.
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Stadium’s Jeff Goodman On Jayson Tatum: ‘There’s No Hole in His Game’
And, following the Celtics’ 109-86 Game 2 win over the Milwaukee Bucks — where Tatum finished with 29 points, eight assists, three steals, and one block, shared his insight on Tatum’s overall growth as a player.
“The thing with Jayson Tatum now is, there’s no hole in his game. He’s the best all-around player in the NBA, in my opinion,” Goodman said, per WEEI’s Greg Hill Show. “All around, no weakness in his game. He can score from three. He can pull up. He can finish through contact. He rebounds his position. He’s a really good passer now. He’s a really good defender.
“Like Ja Morant, not a great shooter. Giannis (Antetokounmpo) not a very good shooter. KD (Kevin Durant), obviously, still kind of the guy, but he’s not as good defensively as consistently as Jayson Tatum. Part of it is just the stage of his career. Once you get older, no matter who you are, you start to slow down defensively and pick your spots. Jayson Tatum obviously isn’t there yet. He’s gotten better. I mean, he wasn’t very good defensively in college, and I felt like even his first year in the league.”
We’ve seen a significant leap in Tatum’s ascension to becoming a three-time All-Star. Since 2020, Jayson’s emerged as a consistent 26 points per game scorer among the NBA’s elite.
And while shooting at a consistent 45% clip from the floor, Tatum’s playmaking abilities have evolved, too. He averaged a career-best 4.4 assists in 2021-22, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Goodman on Tatum’s Growth: ‘He’s Just Matured’
But, what’s sending Tatum into the “best all-around player” conversation, jointing his offensive skillset, is his effort on the defensive end of the floor. Jayson’s been solid on both ends.
“We forget what he was even a couple of years ago,” Goodman added, per WEEI. “The offensive end, he couldn’t finish through contact. He didn’t want contact. Now he wants it; he absorbs it, and he finishes through it. Just listening to him last night, he’s gotten so much more mature about everything, about the right things, instead of worrying about maybe the second contract or some of those things, his own numbers, his points. He could always do this and make people better. He’s just matured.”
Tatum’s maturity keyed into the 24-year-old’s rise to becoming one of the brightest stars in the NBA.
“It shows kind of the maturity of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to understand it, to be able to look in the mirror a little bit and say, ‘You know what? This dude’s right. We’re not playing the right way,'” Goodman said. “I talked to Tatum last night about it. I always said that, at time, it looked like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had never played basketball together. I asked him that, and he said, ‘I think that’s a little bit harsh, a little bit too much.’ I said, ‘That’s fair, but you guys are playing off each other so much better.’
“I mean, they had half the team’s assists last night, the two of them. You never would’ve imagined that last year or the first part of this year. They’re giving the ball up knowing that even if they don’t get it back, someone’s gonna get a good shot. They’re just not shot-hunting like they were.”
The Celtics’ best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bucks shifts to Milwaukee for Game 3 Saturday night.