Jayson Tatum could be the key to improving the Boston Celtics’ offense
The Boston Celtics have been underwhelming on offense for most of this season. We have seen the utter brilliance of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford has been the most complete player (outside of the last two games) and the youngsters Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have exceeded all expectations. The problem is that the Celtics have almost nothing after those four on offense, and they have to carry a lot of liabilities on the roster.
Irving and Horford’s role on offense is quite established. Perhaps a bit more aggressiveness from Horford could be beneficial, but the Celtics know how they want to use the two of them. With Brown, we are seeing him play with relentless aggression. He is attacking any time he has an opportunity, and is learning a lot of different ways he can attack.
For Tatum, however, it still feels as though the Celtics can get more out of him in a more prominent role. In terms of efficiency, it is almost impossible for him to get better. He does not take a single bad shot, and can finish anywhere you need him to. He has some turnover issues while driving to the rim, but that has not stopped him from being one of the most effective finishers any time he is on the court.
The problem with Tatum is that he is rarely the focal point on offense, and often disappears, not getting involve enough to leave him imprint on the game.
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It is probably unfair to expect a rookie to do even more than Tatum is doing right now, but this is no regular rookie. He does not make any of the mistakes we are accustomed to with first year players, and he has established all the trust he needs on both ends.
If the Celtics are looking to make an adjustment to try and get a boost on offense, Tatum is one player where it feels like he may even be held back a little bit right now. The efficiency could go down, but the Celtics need players to be creating offense, and Tatum can do that in a lot of different ways.
He may not be a distributor, but they do not need that as much. Tatum can create with the space he provide from beyond the arc, but maybe he can start taking more of the semi contested looks. Right now, Tatum only takes the absolute best opportunities, and he knows exactly when he is in a comfortable position.
Given the state of the offense, it probably would not hurt too much to give Tatum more of a green light, and let him take some of the semi contested shots that everyone else on the team does not hesitate on.
Driving to the rim is where Tatum can create even more. He needs to make sure he stops losing the ball when he goes up, but his length is a deadly weapon, and players still do not know how to stop that. The Celtics can use him to manufacture more points driving to the rim, and getting to the free throw line.
If his impact in that area grows, then he will start helping his teammates even more. Teams will eventually have to start crashing on Tatum as he drives, and that is how more things will open up for his teammates on the outside.
Tatum is a special talent, and there is a good chance that the Celtics will not force or rush anything with him. You cannot complain about a single aspect of his game right now, and there is risk in trying to change any part of his approach, even if it is just about increasing his volume.
That being said, the Celtics need to get better on offense, and we can see how much more potential Tatum has right now. Especially when the majority of the second unit is out there, the Celtics need players who can create good offense. Right now, Tatum is looking like the best option to take on more responsibility, and be the one to take the steps in order to improve the overall offense of the team.