Celtics All-Star Falls Short In All-Time Record Pursuit

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum has been one of the Boston Celtics‘ best scorers since entering the NBA via the 2017 draft.

It didn’t take long for Tatum to establish himself as one of Boston’s primary offensive weapons, which allowed then head coach Brad Stevens to feature the young wing in multiple sets and end-of-game scenarios.

Due to Tatum’s rapid ascension through the ranks, he quickly started climbing an illustrious leaderboard: most points scored by a player under 23 all-time. Well, the St Louis native turns 24 on March 3rd, and as such, will be unable to continue climbing the current rankings.

As Sean Grande pointed out on Twitter, Tatum will finish his pursuit of a top-10 place in the scoring leaderboard in 12th position, trailing some of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. Interestingly, Andrew Wiggins and Devin Booker – players often considered below Tatum in terms of potential and skill – both rank higher than the All-Star wing.

Tatum Has Achieved Plenty For Player Under 24

When you look at Tatum’s resume, it’s hard to remember that he’s still only 23-years-old, well soon to be 24. In his young NBA career, the Celtics star wing has made three All-Star appearances, been to two conference finals, was named to the 2018 All-Rookie first team, and was voted into the 2020 All-NBA third team.

That’s quite an array of individual accolades for a player who was drafted into a stacked Celtics team expecting to challenge for a championship. But despite to runs to the Eastern Conference finals, Tatum has yet to strut his stuff on the biggest stage after losing to the LeBron James-led cavaliers and then the Miami Heat.

Tatum recently discussed his first conference finals loss, which came against the Cavaliers in a series that truly put him on the path to stardom. In a recent podcast episode with JJ Redick, the 23-year-old shared some of his initial thoughts, “I was 21 at the time. I remember when we lost, I was pissed, because I felt like we could’ve and should’ve to beat them, but they were a really good team. There was a part of me that was like, ‘I got 15 more years.’ I blinked and it’s Year Five.”

Tatum Has Had Some Memorable Moments Already

When you think of Jayson Tatum highlights your mind instantly goes back to that dunk on LeBron James, or the chest bump that quickly followed. That moment has become an iconic freeze-frame in modern Celtics history and will go down as the stuff of legend if Tatum continues his meteoric rise.

“I was fully aware of what I had just done, I remember as soon as the game ended, I had talked to Bron for like a minute. In that moment, I had realized what I had just done, how close we were, and that was kind of like alright, I’m going to be pretty good for a while. I think the world realized it. LeBron had realized it at that point. I was 20 years old,” Tatum told Redick.

While the monster dunk on James is what defines Tatum’s early career, it isn’t the only highlight he’s had. In fact, almost every season the Duke alumn is redefining what we expect from him, after all this is the same player that dropped 50 points on the Brooklyn Nets twice during last season’s playoffs. It’s also the same player who has had multiple high-scoring battles with Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers and has tied Larry Bird’s record for most points scored in a single game.

Sure, Tatum might have missed out on the top-10 of all-time under-23 scorers, but he’s far from done in terms of setting records and winning awards, and for Boston fans, they hope some of those awards come with a championship ring attached.




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