Jayson Tatum’s numbers in the 2022 NBA Finals are far from bad, but they aren’t very encouraging for the Boston Celtics. Scoring 22.3 points a game against the Golden State Warriors on the league’s biggest stage, but shooting 34.1 percent from the field in those four games breeds cause for concern. Among those stupefied by Tatum’s performance four games into the finals is JJ Redick.
On the former NBA player’s show titled, “The Old Man and the Three,” Redick voiced his confusion surrounding Tatum’s performance, particularly his issues in the second half, or more specifically, in the fourth quarter.
“I am as befuddled as anyone as to his struggles in the second half… In particular the fourth quarter, he just has been bad. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s really interesting to see him struggle like this.”
Redick then compared Tatum to the likes of LeBron James and Luka Doncic, both being playmakers with size, to contrast how those two take over a game from Tatum, who isn’t quite as good at making decisions as those two.
“The difference between a LeBron, or even a Luka, at that size is that they control the halfcourt setting. They manipulate every possession. They just by and large make the right play over and over. I’ve talked about Jayson Tatum’s decision-making a ton and when that decision-making gets poor, a lot of times it is him getting sped up. I feel like, at times, he gets sped up and drives into no-mans-land without a plan. That’s really tough.”
Redick Says Jaylen Brown Has Similar Issues
While talking about Tatum’s porous decision-making at times, Redick also pointed out that Brown makes similar mistakes when he drives to the basket with no plan, and that those two making those mistakes lead to a concerningly high number of turnovers.
“Jaylen Brown is guilty of this too at times where he is jumping off of one foot in traffic and then, trying to make a play. Both of those guys, by and large, when they’re having high turnover nights, it’s those two guys who have the bulk of the turnovers because they are high usage players.”
Tatum is averaging 3.5 turnovers a game in the 2022 NBA Finals while Brown is averaging 2.5 turnovers. When it comes to their usage rate in the finals, Tatum has a usage rate of 29 percent while Brown has a usage rate of 26.9, according to NBA.com.
Kendrick Perkins Gives His Take on Tatum’s Woes
On ESPN’s NBA Today, Perkins, dressed up as a doctor, attributed Tatum’s issues to nerves. More specifically that being on the league’s biggest stage has gotten to him.
“He has anxiety. He’s a bit scared, and that’s what he’s diagnosed with. I don’t just watch him on the floor. I’m watching his postgame interviews, and right now I’m looking at it, and all he keeps saying is about how he’s not trying to take it for granted about being in the finals. Well, guess what? You’re four games in. At this point, look, it’s strictly basketball and who wants it the most? I don’t want to hear about anybody making the right passes. I don’t want to hear about you having assists (or) having to play to make others better. Find a way to get it done.”
Perkins later said Tatum has to adopt the same mentality as his role model, Kobe Bryant, for him to get his groove back.
“He keeps preaching “Kobe Bryant,” right? He keeps remembering Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant had a mentality. I played against him a few times in the finals. He’s going to do it himself, and that’s the mentality Jayson Tatum has to have.”