As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2017 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed four picks: 1, 37, 53, and 56. The draft will be held exactly two weeks from today on June 22 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Position: Small forward
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Weight: 205 pounds
Key 2016-17 stats: 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.1 blocks
Scouting report: The small forward from Duke was named to the third-team All-ACC and ACC All-freshman team while ranking second among ACC freshmen in scoring and rebounding. Prior to college, he was ranked as the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2016 high school class by ESPN and was named the 2016 Gatorade male athlete of the year and Gatorade national player of the year.
Tatum is very comparable to Kansas small forward Josh Jackson. In regards to size and stats, the two are mirror images of each other. While they are both explosive players, Tatum appears to be a more versatile player with a smooth mid-range game, set three-point shot and greater ability to finish at the rim. He shot 45.2 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc, so there is definitely room for improvement.
Defensively, Tatum struggles to stay in front of smaller players and those who challenge him 1-on-1 in a face-up matchup. In the NBA, a challenge for him will be matching up against faster and more athletic players that have solid handles and the ability to pull up on a dime or get all the way to the rim. Also, his help defense is about a step behind on the backside of rotation, but that is typical for a freshman which develops with game experience.
“Look, there are a lot of guys in this draft that could end up being the best player,” an Eastern Conference scout said to Vice Sports. “Gun to my head, I think I go Tatum right now. I trust the scoring ability at all three levels, and the trajectory he’s on. I like guys who get better throughout the season, and Tatum has done that.”
Tatum has been referred to as a safe pick in the upcoming draft which poses no threat to his stock as he should go top 10. The Celtics have consistently chosen players that have taken time to develop. Jaylen Brown was the No. 3 pick in the 2016 draft who posted a similar stat line to Tatum during his college career and has certainly begun to make a name for himself in Boston. However, Tatum is not a player that will be around in the second round, so if the Celtics want to add another work-in progress player, then he would be the wise selection, however, with the No. 1 pick, a developed player would be the more attractive choice.
Full article @ NBA draft prospect profile: Duke small forward Jayson Tatum
Source: GreenStreet Blog