Right now, Jayson Tatum wouldn’t win Rookie of the Year. Ben Simmons or Donovan Mitchell are currently sitting as the favorites, with Kyle Kuzma and Lauri Markkanen also in the mix.
But think about where the Celtics would be if they gave into the temptation of drafting the likes of Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson. The thought should have crossed your mind when watching the Celtics’ 102-93 win in Memphis Saturday night. (For a complete recap, click here.)
Yes, the Celtics have had to ride the rookie wave with Tatum as of late, with the forward shooting 2-for-13 in his team’s last two losses. Yet, this game was another opportunity for the forward to step up when the Celts need him the most. Against the Grizzlies, with Brad Stevens’ club having lost three of its last five, they needed him.
Tatum was a key element in the Celtics running off a 16-0 run to start the fourth quarter. That came after the visitors squandered a 21-point, first-half lead to trail after three quarters. And the way the 19-year-old did it was exactly what makes his presence so intriguing. Inside, outside, on defense and out on the break.
It all added up to 19 points for Tatum, who continued to perform amazingly well from beyond the three-point stripe, hitting both of his attempts. There were also nine rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end, and a plus-21 when it was all said and done.
Tatum wasn’t alone in helping the Celtics put Friday night’s horrific loss to the Jazz in the rearview mirror, with Kyrie Irving (20 points), Al Horford (15 points, 7 rebounds), Aaron Baynes (13 points on 6-for-8 from the field), Marcus Smart (11 points) and Terry Rozier (10) all chipping in against an overmatched Grizzlies squad.
It was Tatum, however, who played the most minutes (34) and did the most damage. It was simply a perfect time for the rookie to not play like one.
ISO Tatum —— pic.twitter.com/wIj0OJZ8WX
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 17, 2017
Full article @ Celtics 102, Grizzlies 93: Thank goodness for Jayson Tatum
Source: GreenStreet Blog