Jayson Tatum is already proving that he is the second most important scorer on the Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are quickly putting their offensive struggles behind them, and rounding out into one of the top offenses in the league. We always knew this team had the individual talent, and now the ball movement and shooting is starting to settle.
The Celtics always do a great job of getting as many players involved as possible, and try to do as much as possible to not depend on any individual to carry the offense. Fortunately, when that is necessary, Kyrie Irving is exactly who you want to carry the scoring. It is easy to tell that Irving is so far ahead in a class of his own when it comes to scoring, that there really is not a close second.
Irving does things as a scorer that nobody else in this league is capable of, and when his finishing is on point he is as impossible to guard as anyone else in the league. Irving is always going to carry the most scoring for the Celtics, and is going to be the most important scorer as an individual, as as well as the most important scorer to open things up for his teammates.
After Irving, it is a challenge to determine who the next most important scorer is. If you are talking about overall offensive player, then Al Horford is an easy choice. He impacts the way the offense functions more than anyone else, is one of the most trusted shooters form anywhere on the court, brings the floor spacing from the five, and is the most important passer on the team.
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That being said, he often fades away as a scorer, and focuses more on facilitating for his teammates. One of the most remarkable aspects of Horford is how much of an impact he can have on offense without scoring. Horford is the second most important offensive player, but the Celtics will value the pure scoring of others more than him.
Jaylen Brown certainly deservers consideration for the second most important scorer. He plays with all the aggressiveness, and is proving that he is capable of scoring in as many ways as anyone. His shooting has really come together brilliantly this season, and the only blemish is his inexplicable struggles from the free throw line.
Brown is the second leading scorer at just under 15 points per game, and it feels like he could even improve those numbers. He still has some consistency problems, and if he fixed those then he could easily emerge as the second most important scorer come playoff time.
Right now, however, the second most important scorer on the team is Jayson Tatum. He is only fourth on the team in points per game, but it feels like a foregone conclusion that he will continually be improving that, and his finishing ability has been unmatched in the entire NBA this season. The gap between him and Brown is also less than one point per game, and Tatum is in the best position to improve his mark.
Tatum has brought reliability to impossible levels this season, and it just feels like he is getting started. Tatum has one of the most complete arsenals you could hope for, and he never forces anything. The Celtics should be pushing for more aggressiveness from Tatum, but his intelligence on the court is making sure that he is never forcing things the way Brown might.
Tatum is also more important because of how much he can be used off the ball. He will not create for others the way Horford or Irving or even Marcus Smart will, but Stevens finds so many different ways to give Tatum some space, and there is only so much defenses can do with the attention Irving and Horford draw, and their ability to pass the ball.
Tatum is the most efficient three point shooter in the NBA this season, and is no longer hesitating when he gets an open look. He has a remarkable ability to dunk through bodies in the paint, and has the length to finish over anyone that matches up with him. He can also get to and finish at the line, rounding out what is the kind of offensive arsenal that coaches usually only get to dream of.
One of the most exciting parts of this season is going to be seeing the growth of Tatum. He has been so good in so many different ways and Stevens has been easing him in. Tatum has blown away every single test or standard that has been put in front of him so far, and there is no reason for the Celtics to stop pushing to see how much this 19 year old rookie can do this season.