Celtics Prediction Creates ‘Nightmarish Thought’ for Rest of NBA

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics reacts after hitting a three-point basket against the Atlanta Hawks.

In just six seasons, Boston Celtics cornerstone Jayson Tatum has quickly established himself as one of the elite talents the NBA has to offer. From All-Star nods to All-NBA honors, the 25-year-old has received numerous accolades for his on-court efforts and productivity.

Now, heading into the 2023-24 season, the folks at Bleacher Report believe that the always-improving Tatum will take yet another step forward in his professional career, as they predict he’ll finish the year off as the best wing in the entire association.

“With his methodical and mega-productive play style, he is someone who so often makes you forget he’s all of 25 years old. It’s very possible (and maybe probable) we haven’t even seen him at his best yet, which is a nightmarish thought for 29 fanbases,” the B/R staff wrote.

“He is a scorer, first and foremost, and wholly dominant in that respect. In 2022-23, he nudged his scoring average north of 30 for the first time, and he is skilled enough to keep it there for the foreseeable future. He is comfortable, capable and confident in isolations, which are only growing harder to handle as his willingness and ability to distribute perpetually increase. His defense is an underrated piece of the puzzle, too. He has both the physical tools and competitive edge to defend anyone but centers, and he has no hesitations about doing the dirty work necessary to grind out defensive possessions.”

Tatum finds himself coming off easily his best season in the league, as he went on to post astounding averages of 30.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and just shy of a block.

Though his shooting splits on the year of 46.6 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from deep may be rather pedestrian, the Bleacher Report staff suggests that if he can find a way to up his efficiency in this area of the game during the upcoming campaign, “he could easily exit it as the top two-way talent.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown Ranked Within Top-8

Tatum may be expected to finish off the 2023-24 season as the top-ranked wing talent in the NBA, but he’s not the only Celtics player projected to be in the conversation for the position’s best representatives, as Jaylen Brown was listed seventh on the same Bleacher Report projections list.

“Certain elements of his game need polishing, sure, but he is a relentless attacker with a typically reliable outside shot who can seamlessly shift through different defensive assignments. He may not elevate other players around him, but he usually wins his one-on-one battles—often in knockout fashion,” the B/R staff wrote.

Like Tatum, Brown also finds himself coming off a career-defining season, as he finished the year with career-best numbers in a myriad of categories. Through 67 contests, the 26-year-old posted averages of 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals.

As a result of his efforts, the wing went on to earn the second All-Star selection of his career, his first All-NBA nod, and, this offseason, landed himself a lucrative five-year, $304 million supermax extension, the richest in league history.

With such a price tag, ample attention has been brought to both the Celtics and their young star this summer, and Bleacher Report suspects eyes will continue to be on him throughout the season.

And despite fears of regression following his payday, the belief by the writing staff is that Brown can “absolutely earn his keep” with another solid showing.

Celtics Urged to Target Former ROY in Free Agency

The Celtics parted ways with long-tenured guard Marcus Smart this offseason in the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster trade and, as a result, diminished the depth of their once electrifying backcourt rotation.

While the remaining talents in Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Payton Pritchard are all slated to take on larger workloads as a result of the veteran’s departure, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar suggests the front office may still want to consider scooping up someone such as former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams off the free agency market.

“The Celtics have Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kristaps Porzingis, but they will need to have the right point guards facilitating their star forwards the basketball,” Stinar wrote. “Carter-Williams is a capable facilitator who could be an excellent addition to their bench… At 31, he is still in the prime of his career and would likely benefit from playing next to the elite players on the Celtics.”

Stinar would continue on to note that the veteran guard’s services could likely be had at a mere cost of a veteran’s minimum contract, which is exactly the price range the cash-strapped Celtics should be looking toward.

Carter-Williams boasts career averages of 10.2 points, 4.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and half a block through 395 regular season games.