Jayson Greatum: Ranking Our Binky

Where does Jayson Tatum rank as a player right now?

  • Top 1-3: MVP Candidate Favorite

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Top 4-6: MVP Candidate Contender

    Votes: 12 7.3%
  • Top 7-9: Fringe MVP Candidate

    Votes: 60 36.6%
  • Top 10-12: Future MVP Candidate Likely

    Votes: 63 38.4%
  • Top 13-15: Future MVP Candidate Possible

    Votes: 26 15.9%
  • Top 16+: Future MVP Candidate Unlikely

    Votes: 3 1.8%

  • Total voters
    164

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
38,344
Splitting out from the Nets thread. Curious to see where everyone ranks Tatum right now as a complete player. Feel free to use whatever criteria you deem relevant.
 

RorschachsMask

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 23, 2011
1,569
Lynn
Copying my post from the other thread, including my extremely bullish prediction.

Here is where Tatum ranks on the most recent best player lists.

ESPN-11th
CBS- 11th
Bleacher Report- 11th
Nba.com- 10th
SI- 13th (before the bubble)

The general board on realgm does a best player thread, and Tatum was voted 12th. Whether by nba media or neutral fans, he is considered a top 15 player pretty much across the board, and rising quickly. I’d personally have him 8 or 9, I think he’s going to have a ridiculous season.

26/9/5ish, second team all nba, second team all defense
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
14,586
I voted 7-9. Let's rule out Curry and Durant because they were injured last season; I still think you'd have to rank LeBron, Giannis, Kawhi, Davis and Harden over him. Then there is another tier of players that I think Tatum is in contention with: Luka, Jokic, Dame and Butler. As much as I love Tatum, I'd still rather have Luka; he is just ridiculous. Tatum is a much better defender than Jokic and an astronomically better defender than Lillard; but Jokic is a great rebounder AND an elite playmaker. Tatum is a more complete player than Lillard due to his defense; but I'd still probably rather have Dame if it was a Game 7; that one is kind of a toss-up. Butler had a great postseason, and he is also a very good defender, but I think Tatum is a significantly better offensive player in every way, except Butler is a slightly better playmaker.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
7,887
Kiev, Ukraine
This is going to be a long thread of people arguing about how much you should value the most important defensive position in modern basketball (big wing).

That said, I think Tatum gets undersold offensively. He’s ridiculously good at maybe the most important skill (high volume self-created 3s), he’s always been a part of good offenses, and he can carry grindy units of subpar offensive guys to decent outcomes.

I said 7-9. If he can increase the volume of 3s while adding more counters to drive off that threat, I think “Tatum as top-5 player” will be the accepted position.

I’ve said it before, but Tatum and Luka will be this next NBA generation’s clear top 2. There will be a lot of debate as to who is better, and there will be a lot of arguing about the value of defense+great offense vs. meh D with transcendent offense.
 

Euclis20

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
3,906
Imaginationland
I’ve said it before, but Tatum and Luka will be this next NBA generation’s clear top 2. There will be a lot of debate as to who is better, and there will be a lot of arguing about the value of defense+great offense vs. meh D with transcendent offense.
I saw at least two clips of analysts debating which player you'd most want for the future - Tatum, Luka or Zion. The latter is obviously far behind the other two and has major injury concerns, but a 19 year old who averages 22.5 points on 58% shooting in his first 24 games while displaying 99th percentile athleticism is a reasonable bet to shove his way into that conversation.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
7,887
Kiev, Ukraine
I saw at least two clips of analysts debating which player you'd most want for the future - Tatum, Luka or Zion. The latter is obviously far behind the other two and has major injury concerns, but a 19 year old who averages 22.5 points on 58% shooting in his first 24 games while displaying 99th percentile athleticism is a reasonable bet to shove his way into that conversation.
Yeah, I am making the prediction that Zion, for a variety of reasons, won’t end up in that conversation. Reasonable minds can differ here.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
11,013
Santa Monica
I saw at least two clips of analysts debating which player you'd most want for the future - Tatum, Luka or Zion. The latter is obviously far behind the other two and has major injury concerns, but a 19 year old who averages 22.5 points on 58% shooting in his first 24 games while displaying 99th percentile athleticism is a reasonable bet to shove his way into that conversation.
In order for Zion to join the Luka/Tatum conversation, I'd have to see him accomplish most of these things:
1. more than 24 NBA games
2. see if he can stay healthy for a season
3. see if he has a good work ethic during the offseason
4. see if he improves his outside shooting
5. see a slimmer, more chiseled Zion
6. see overall improvement year to year
7. see him in a playoff game/series

We've seen Tatum (and Doncic) excel in all of the above, so Zion has work to do before he can join them IMO.
 
Last edited:

amarshal2

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
4,864
I went 7-9 because he’s quite close to the guys in that range offensively but far ahead defensively. (Dame, Jokic)

Basketball is weird though and I can see the next rung down, or perhaps lower, as the right answer. Even though JT is a better all around player than Butler in a vacuum, I think the savvy gap of Butler over Tatum was evident in the ECF and arguably won the Heat the series. I think we saw similar things with Lowry the round before. Jokic seems to have it too. Dame is a master as well.

This is the kinda fun thing about Tatum. He’s so good and yet has such obvious areas of opportunity. And he consistently seems to work with Hanlan or C’s coaches to fix his flaws. I remember saying this in a thread last year around January where lots of people were arguing Tatum was near a finished product. And then it was like he read the thread and systematically addressed his weaknesses.
Closing games. Creating for his teammates. Finishing at the rim. Tightened handle. I think it’s all coming.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
11,936
Remember... Tatum is still only 22. Larry Bird entered the NBA at age 23.

Tatum still has several years to go before hitting the START of his peak.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,966
Remember... Tatum is still only 22. Larry Bird entered the NBA at age 23.

Tatum still has several years to go before hitting the START of his peak.
LeBron was 24 when he won his first MVP, as was Giannis. Duncan and Durant were 25, and Steph 26; Garnett was 27. All of them improved upon that first MVP season in subsequent years. The point is that mid-20's is the time you truly know if a player is going to be in the MVP conversation in upcoming seasons. This is good news, because, as you note, Tatum is still only 22.

The one outlier is Rose (22), but that was a strange MVP year. LeBron lost some votes by going to South Beach; Chris Paul lost some votes toiling for The Big Easy. And Rose benefited from being the shiny new object at the time. Then Rose got hurt and was never the same player.
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
3,981
Tatum in the 2020 playoffs: 25/10/5, something that Bird managed to do only twice in his career. LeBron has only done it once. It’s time for him to build off that upper echelon performance

I expect his assist numbers to double this regular season from 3 apg in 2020. As a 21 year old, he took 40% more shots over the previous season, at a higher efficiency. If he can increase his number of shots 15% more, at the same eFG, and get to the line twice more per game, he will be a 30 ppg scorer.

Considering this offense and the great defense, I have Tatum in the 7-9 range, and he is certainly an MVP candidate the next three seasons.
 

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
48,055
deep inside Guido territory
This is a big year for Tatum. If he can start to play consistently game in-game out like he did in those 2 months before the pandemic hit, he’s a top 10 player now at 22 years old which is astonishing. He’s now the unquestioned #1 option and will have to not only learn to play while getting doubled every time, he’ll have to thrive off of it. You saw glimpses of how much of a playmaker he can be for others but it will have to be at a great level for this team to win a title. Defensively he got better and I think he’ll get even better because he cares about playing at that end.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
43,619
This thread guarantees he goes 5-18 on opening night. But he's gonna be awesome this year.
 

billy ashley

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,005
Washington DC
This thread guarantees he goes 5-18 on opening night. But he's gonna be awesome this year.

I only just got back into basketball 2 years ago and from the perspective of a novice fan, this seems to be the one strange feature of the Tatum experience. Is it normal for a guy to be borderline elite offensively so frequently, but also post several 4-16 games in a season? Am I only focusing on Tatum, does this happen to other stars?

The good news is that he's found ways to contribute in those terrible shooting outings. A couple of them featured 10 rebounds, good +/- but yeah... as a novice to the game, it strikes me as odd.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
43,619
Yeah, it happens to most players.

Harden had 11 games shooting under .300. Tatum had 7. Booker had 6, Mitchell had 6. In 18/19 Curry had 6. Now, Lebron had 0, but I don't think it's any kind of weird thing for Tatum.
 

Euclis20

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
3,906
Imaginationland
In order for Zion to join the Luka/Tatum conversation, I'd have to see him accomplish most of these things:
1. more than 24 NBA games
2. see if he can stay healthy for a season
3. see if he has a good work ethic during the offseason
4. see if he improves his outside shooting
5. see a slimmer, more chiseled Zion
6. see overall improvement year to year
7. see him in a playoff game/series

We've seen Tatum (and Doncic) excel in all of the above, so Zion has work to do before he can join them IMO.
All true, and those conversations with analysts debating the three players occurred before the bubble. He's not in that group yet, but I suspect (and hope) he'll join them by the end of the year. He looked and played like a smaller, faster Shaq - I think the only thing that stands between him and being a top 10 player for the next dozen years is health.
 

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
53,388

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
4,658
Yeah, it happens to most players.

Harden had 11 games shooting under .300. Tatum had 7. Booker had 6, Mitchell had 6. In 18/19 Curry had 6. Now, Lebron had 0, but I don't think it's any kind of weird thing for Tatum.
Where’d you go for this pull? Now that B-ref’s season finder is behind a subscription I don’t really know where to get this kind of stuff. Maybe I should just fork over the 8/month and think of some other of it as payment for past services.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
11,013
Santa Monica
All true, and those conversations with analysts debating the three players occurred before the bubble. He's not in that group yet, but I suspect (and hope) he'll join them by the end of the year. He looked and played like a smaller, faster Shaq - I think the only thing that stands between him and being a top 10 player for the next dozen years is health.
I like that smaller, faster Shaq

If your going to hope for anything, hope for Tatum to separate himself from those guys with Steph-esque 3pt shooting
 

Euclis20

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
3,906
Imaginationland
I like that smaller, faster Shaq

If your going to hope for anything, hope for Tatum to separate himself from those guys with Steph-esque 3pt shooting
Tatum will have to remain a far superior 3 point shooter, otherwise he won't be in the conversation with those two. He'll never match Zion's athleticism or power and he'll never come close to Luka's all around offensive game. It's possible he'll make up those gaps with his defense (currently light years ahead of either), but I have to think that Luka will become an average defender (given his size and BB IQ) and Zion has a tremendous amount of potential on that end. As abysmal as he was on defense last year, he's got the potential to be an elite rim protector and guard all five positions competently.

It's a fun trio to think about, all with different strengths and weaknesses. Zion for sure has the lowest floor (considering his health) but he came into the league as the most highly touted prospect since at least Anthony Davis (and possibly going all the way back to LeBron). The little time he did spend on the court hasn't done much to diminish his potential.
 
Last edited:

JakeRae

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
6,718
New York, NY
Tatum will have to remain a far superior 3 point shooter, otherwise he won't be in the conversation with those two. He'll never match Zion's athleticism or power and he'll never come close to Luka's all around offensive game. It's possible he'll make up those gaps with his defense (currently light years ahead of either), but I have to think that Luka will become an average defender (given his size and BB IQ) and Zion has a tremendous amount of potential on that end. As abysmal as he was on defense last year, he's got the potential to be an elite rim protector and guard all five positions competently.

It's a fun trio to think about, all with different strengths and weaknesses. Zion for sure has the lowest floor (considering his health) but he came into the league as the most highly touted prospect since at least Anthony Davis (and possibly going all the way back to LeBron). The little time he did spend on the court hasn't done much to diminish his potential.
This is a fun mad lib game. Am I playing correctly?

Doncic will have to remain a far superior playmaker, otherwise he won’t be in the conversation with those two. He’ll never match Zion’s athleticism or power and he’ll never come close to Tatum’s shooting or all around defensive game.
 

nighthob

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
9,967
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that Doncic/Tatum will be the discussion of the next decade. Zion might be in that conversation if he can stay healthy and develop a reliable jumper. A better question still is if Boston had never made the cursed Irving deal, would the Hawks have accepted #8, the Kings pick and the Grizzles pick for Luka or would it have been Jaylen/#8 for Luka?
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
11,013
Santa Monica
Tatum will have to remain a far superior 3 point shooter, otherwise he won't be in the conversation with those two. He'll never match Zion's athleticism or power and he'll never come close to Luka's all around offensive game. It's possible he'll make up those gaps with his defense (currently light years ahead of either), but I have to think that Luka will become an average defender (given his size and BB IQ) and Zion has a tremendous amount of potential on that end. As abysmal as he was on defense last year, he's got the potential to be an elite rim protector and guard all five positions competently.

It's a fun trio to think about, all with different strengths and weaknesses. Zion for sure has the lowest floor (considering his health) but he came into the league as the most highly touted prospect since at least Anthony Davis (and possibly going all the way back to LeBron). The little time he did spend on the court hasn't done much to diminish his potential.
Zion is fun to dream on...but back here on earth Luka/Tatum are on a different level. As much as I hate his defense I'd expect Trae to potentially enter the discussion before ZW

If Tatum shoots like prime Steph from 3 he's conservatively a top 5 player
 
Last edited:

Euclis20

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Aug 3, 2004
3,906
Imaginationland
Zion is fun to dream on...but back here on earth Luka/Tatum are on a different level. As much as I hate his defense I'd expect Trae to potentially enter the discussion before ZW

If Tatum shoots like prime Steph from 3 he's conservatively a top 5 player
On a different level for now. After just 24 games, ESPN already has him 19th on their ranking and CBS has him 24th (Trae was 29th and 25th, respectively). The Athletic is a bit more conservative, ranking him in their 3B tier (28 guys are in higher tiers, Zion is on the same crowded level as Mitchell, Morant, Klay Thompson, Jaylen, Porzingis, Siakam, Westbrook, and Trae).

I think people are underestimating just how impressive Zion's debut was, albeit in less than a third of a season. Maybe he started on a hot streak and would have cooled down, or maybe the league would've figured him out. Or maybe the game would've slowed down for him and he would've gotten better as the season went on. Either way, 22.5 ppg on .583 shooting as a rookie has literally never been done before. Casting a slightly wider net, here are the rookies who averaged 20+ ppg and shot .550 or better in the last 50 years:

Shaquille O'Neal (23.4 ppg and .562 FG%)

That's it, that's the whole list (Shaq was also a year older than Zion and had spent three years in college, compared to Zion's one season at Duke). I think he's pretty comfortably third behind Luka/Tatum right now (which makes sense given that Luka and Tatum are 1 and 2 years ahead of him) but health permitting, he's going to be in their group for a long time.
 

slamminsammya

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
4,818
Palo Alto
Regarding Zion, my intuition is that high level shooting has greater knock on effects for an overall offense than great finishing / inside play, absent Jokic level passing and vision. Do people agree?
 

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
4,658
Yeah, 100%. Having to guard a high level shooter from 27 feet out opens up everything else. Steph’s gravity absolutely warped the half court. Tatum isn’t the shooter or passer that Steph is, but he’s 6’10, which opens up passing angles that he’s just learning how to exploit. All other things equal, I’d expect the team with the shooter to have a better eFG% from better looks than the team with the interior terror.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
14,325
Regarding Zion, my intuition is that high level shooting has greater knock on effects for an overall offense than great finishing / inside play, absent Jokic level passing and vision. Do people agree?
I dunno. I'm guessing Shaq would still have been a huge difference maker in today's game.
 

snowmanny

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2005
12,222
Remember... Tatum is still only 22. Larry Bird entered the NBA at age 23.

Tatum still has several years to go before hitting the START of his peak.
Larry Bird entered the NBA at age 23 then finished top 2 in MVP voting six straight years starting year 2. I suppose technically the peak of his peak was year 7 but he pretty much was "hitting the start of his peak" immediately, and even then I believe he was better defensively early on than he was in say 1986. I don't disagree with your actual point at all: you look at most players from Jordan to Olajuwon even to James, and it takes years to mature and to build playoff success and Tatum is on a ridiculous trajectory. But Bird isn't the best example.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,095
I don't think you can look simply at age to figure out an expected peak.

Someone who is in the NBA at age 18 or 19 is going to be more advanced at 22 (and probably closer to their peak) than the exact same hypothetical player that entered the NBA at 22. You're playing so much more basketball against way better competition. Obviously there are maturity and other issues that might be better ironed out in college, but these early basketball development years are not all created equal.

Of course, the guys who are 22 and have been in the NBA for 3 years have been there for a reason. They are really good and likely to have a high peak. But if you took a version Jayson Tatum who spent 4 years at Duke, I don't think he would be as good as he is right now.

I think age is still critically important, but there is probably some conversion factor that should be included. Each year in the NBA is worth 1.25 years towards reaching your peak compared to college. Or each year in college is worth 0.75 NBA years towards reaching your peak.

Just spitballing the numbers, but the main point is that I don't think the years are totally equivalent. Whatever Tatum's peak turns out to be, he will probably get there a year (or two?) sooner because he was in the NBA at such a young age.
 
Last edited:

sezwho

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
562
Brooklyn by way of Orono
I love Jay and think its likely he makes another jump but to say MVP is probable would be pretty crazed as defined. Even going forward, Lebron and AD (both are better at both ends imho than Jay) aren’t going anywhere, at least one of Steph and KD will likely return to form, Harden is still a flamethrower and the Luka-magic is strong! Thats if no-one new developers and the young gentleman in NO hits a ceiling. Who knows what all else between now and 3+ years from now.

Anyway, I went 13-15 because I don’t value individual defensive and offensive contributions equally in the lens of winning an ECF of Finals. If a player is average-ish(TM) on defense than a quality coach will can easily compliment any weaknesses with scheme and what I believe are more readily available above average defensive players. If you are average-ish on offense, then just keep it moving and try not to mess things up while the actual MVPs candidates closeout down the stretch. To be clear, I’m not saying J is average-ish(TM) at either end, he’s a monster at both, but as example while Marcus can make the deterministic defensive play (traditionally) only MVP candidates will consistently make the deterministic offensive one.

Again, solely through the lens of winning an ECF or Finals, for me he is a jump away from the Lebron/healthyKD/healthy Kawhi/AD/healthy Steph conversation….he’s in the next tier of Jokic, Giannis, Harden, Klay, Luka, Dame, Beal, Butler, Embiid and probably at least one more person I’m forgetting.
 

nighthob

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
9,967
LeBron isn't very good defensively anymore. He's a lot closer to averagish these days. And there's no way in Passaic New Jersey that Embiid belongs in a conversation with any of those people if winning is your guideline. He's Dwight v2.0. Also you're completely throwing your credibility in the garbage when you're putting Beal and a soon to be 31 year old with an achilles injury ahead of Tatum (in order to demote him to the 13-15 range). It's not like 80% of a top 25 player is still dominant (this is the usual form of the Durant argument).
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
7,887
Kiev, Ukraine
The smoke around Donovan Mitchell is a full-blown conflagration. I think this one actually could happen when the time comes, although 5 years in the NBA is an eternity.

Bigger point: there’s just as good a chance Tatum and Brown recruit someone to Boston as there is that they leave. They already did it with Kemba. I could see that being a big factor in S&T’ing someone good this summer.
 

Jed Zeppelin

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 23, 2008
40,732
I feel pretty confident that Danny has a whiteboard somewhere that outlines a plan for Tatum’s next FA offseason.

It is an eternity away but Ainge is one of the rare GMs who has the luxury of being able to think that far ahead. Usually when a GM lands a young cornerstone player it is through their own incompetence (I.e. building an awful team), which doesn’t just disappear once they’ve landed that player.

Obviously you do what you can to build a winner in this window, but there’s not going to be another Tatum coming, so you do want to maintain some level of modified flexibility down the road.
 

amarshal2

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 25, 2005
4,864
On the 6'10'' listing -- is this via the same mechanism where they measure them with their shoes off and it's not lying? Or did they go back to the old honor system where now "6'10''" means he's either 6'8'' or 6'9''?
 

DGreenwood

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 2, 2003
1,573
Seattle
On the 6'10'' listing -- is this via the same mechanism where they measure them with their shoes off and it's not lying? Or did they go back to the old honor system where now "6'10''" means he's either 6'8'' or 6'9''?
I wondered the same thing so I googled it and didn't find anything about fresh measurements this year. Everything was from when they did it last year.

I'm wondering if Brad just said something off the cuff and it's being blown out of proportion? He said something similar back in August and nobody seemed to notice.

“Some of these teams that are ‘small,’ Tatum is 6-10 and [Gordon] Hayward’s a big guard, Jaylen [Brown]’s a big guard,” Stevens said, via Tom Westerholm of Mass Live. “You kind of go through and they’re not that small versus maybe traditional lineups.”
https://clutchpoints.com/celtics-news-jayson-tatum-might-be-6-foot-10-now-if-brad-stevens-is-to-be-believed/
 

snowmanny

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2005
12,222
I feel like Tatum always looks 3 inches shorter than Embiid, who is listed at 7’0”

7B0FD329-AF38-4035-A7FD-D781F1AE03B9.jpeg