Jayson Tatum is having a decent postseason, but most Boston Celtics fans would say he has been great. The fans would say this because Tatum has averaged 28.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, and five assists per game with a 51-point performance in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The key point that those fans are missing is that stats are not the only thing that matters. There is more to evaluating greatness than just statistics.
The reason I say this is because the Cs currently trail 3-1 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Tatum’s poor play in the fourth quarter has helped cause this. Although Tatum is statistically having a good series, his fourth-quarter play outweighs that. It doesn’t matter how good you play for the first 36 minutes if your last 12 are pedestrian. Tatum has been a complete no-show in the fourth quarter of this series, and it continues to fly under the radar among most Boston Celtics fans.
I think this is a result of Celtics fans picking and choosing what they want to acknowledge. For example, Celtics fans have celebrated Tatum having the most playoff points in a player’s first six seasons ever and how he is now the Boston Celtics’ all-time leader in playoff points per game. While this is all fine and cool, performing in the clutch and winning championships is what should matter. The narrative that Tatum is starting to develop among Cs fans is concerning because stats are starting to outweigh winning.
An example I want to highlight of people overvaluing stats is how they say he is being slandered or criticized despite posting numbers similar to Lebron’s. My response to those people would be that he should play like a superstar in the fourth quarter. The way you play in the big moments of the playoffs/finals is how you are remembered, not by meaningless stats.
Moving forward, Boston Celtics fans should not overreact to Tatum’s stats and demand more from him because he is capable of leading the Cs to banner 18.