Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum is not a superstar just yet… but he will be

Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

To this point, the Boston Celtics have had quite a successful regular season run thanks in large to the excellence of their young wing Jayson Tatum. The 21-year-old is immensely talented, and will likely reach superstar status one day… but that day has still yet to come.

After a 2018-19 campaign that many deemed to be a “sophomore slump” Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has come into the 2019-20 season with guns blazing.

Through 53 games the 21-year-old has helped guide this year’s Cs to an impressive record of 40-17 (third-best in the Eastern Conference, fourth-best in the NBA) and has averaged career-highs seemingly all across the board: 23.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals per game on 45 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from deep.

He managed to notch his first — of what should be many — All-Star selection and has garnered the respect from some of the most polarizing figures the league has to offer.

(CAPTION: That boi to the left of me is an ABSOLUTE PROBLEM!! Keep going #YoungKing🤴🏼 #OnelegSleeveGang lol 🙏🏾💪🏾👑)

Frankly, there’s no beating around the bush: Jayson Tatum is a star in this league. He has stepped up big for his team when needed most this season, most recently dropping a career-high 41 points on 60 percent shooting from the floor and 57 percent shooting from 3 in a nationally televised game — that ended in a controversial loss — against the Los Angeles Lakers.

After the game, praise was through the roof for Tatum, with his swingman teammate Jaylen Brown stating the forward has reached a whole nother stratosphere:

"“Tatum has reached a new height — superstar level.”"

This statement is important, both for Tatum and Boston Celtics fans to hear. It brings assurance that the young wing’s improvements and talents are not going unnoticed and instills confidence in him to know that his teammates look to him as a leader for the team, despite being the fourth-youngest talent on the roster.

However, while we can easily sit back and agree with this endorsement by Brown about his teammate, we have to slow down just a bit.

It’s true, Jayson Tatum has been an absolute monster for the majority of this campaign. We’ve seen him take on the likes of superstars such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard & Giannis Antetokounmpo and perform admirably, even unbelievably at times. Still, regardless of this, the fact remains: he is not on the level of any of those aforementioned players… at least, not yet.

In the NBA, there are really only a handful of legitimate superstars: the three listed above, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant (both when healthy).

Then, we have the second-tier players on the outside looking in on superstardom; the players that could be argued to be in tier-one, but aren’t “clear cut” choices: Paul George (and, believe me, I love me some PG-13), Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, etc.

For the young guys like Tatum, Luka Doncic (love me some Luka), Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, and, though he’s only played 13 games, Zion Williamson, they’re immensely closer to the guys in tier-two than they are in tier-one — and that’s ok!

All of the lads listed above are between the ages of 19 and 23. To group them in the same conversation as established veterans like George and Kyrie (I know his tenure was abysmal Boston Celtics fans, but he’s still a great talent) is truly an unbelievable honor.

Responding to Jaylen Brown’s comment: is Jayson Tatum really a superstar?

In short, not yet.

In regard to this topic, I believe Tracy McGrady said it best:

"“It’s in the making. What is this, third year? It’s that time. His third year, he’s blossoming into a superstar.”“You can see he’s extremely confident right now, and he’s separating himself from the other players on the team to let everybody know he is the number one option and he is that guy. I need to see it in the playoffs. I don’t want to give him superstar right now until I see what he does in the playoffs.”"

Believe me, we know what you’re going to say: he already showed he can bring it to another level in the postseason when he guided the injury-riddled Boston Celtics to within one game of the NBA Finals in his rookie season.

While his playoff performance that year was great, he has to show he can do it on a regular basis. Frankly, last year’s up and down two-round postseason performance was not the follow up we expected.

Consistency is key when it comes to superstardom. Jayson Tatum has been great all season and is well-deserving of all the praise he has received. All he needs to do is keep the momentum going if he wants to reach this highly touted status.

Tatum is so talented, he truly has the ability to become a top-5 player at some point down the road. However, as of this moment, we should pump the breaks when it comes to considering the wing a superstar… but he’s well on his way to becoming one!

Next. 3 most important matchups remaining on C’s schedule. dark