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Celtics Jayson Tatum has built up a ton of trust in Year 1

The sharp shooting rookie is currently pushing his way through that rookie wall
Celtics, Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum has excelled in Year 1 with the Celtics. Getty Images

When the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers and proceeded to draft Jayson Tatum at No. 3, the move was met with some skepticism.

Armchair scouts wondered if the Celtics would regret passing up on point guard Markelle Fultz, a player many most likely didn't see much of during his one year at the University of Washington.

But it's probably safe to say there isn't much of any doubt remaining when it comes to whether or not Celtics President of Basketball Operations made the right move.

Tatum has shown superstar potential during his rookie campaign while Fultz has dealt with injuries and shooting mechanics with things as simple as free throws.

The two are at such completely different ends of the spectrum right now that the debate on which player will have a better career has ceased, at least for now.

But Tatum is still being discussed around town, and for good reason.

After all, this is a player that many feel the Celtics will be able to build around for years to come. Others, perhaps in a bid to re-live that magical 2007-08 season, might be more willing to part with him in a package deal if that means bringing back a superstar player such as Anthony Davis to put next to Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, immediately making the C's favorites out of the Eastern Conference.

What everyone can probably agree on, though, is that the All-Star break came just in time for the C's and their young guns like Tatum.

A quick look at some stats will tell you that Tatum may have hit that dreaded rookie wall that the long NBA season brings.

From the beginning of the season to the end of December (40 games), Tatum averaged 14.1 points on 50.8-percent shooting from the field while grabbing 5.6 rebounds. But from the beginning of January up until the All Star break, those numbers dipped to 12.3 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting and 4.2 rebounds.

Of course Tatum was not going to remain at the top of the NBA in three-point field goal percentage, where he was to begin the season. Through his first 33 games, Tatum shot a staggering 51.5-percent from three-point range. Since then, he's come back down to earth, shooting just 32.5-percent over his last 28 games. That still gives him a very respectable three-point shooting percentage of 42.9-percent.

The drop in play, combined with the Celtics recent struggles heading into the break and the return of Marcus Smart to the court, had many thinking Brad Stevens would tinker with the starting lineup and potentially move Tatum to the bench.

Through two post-All-Star break games, though, Tatum has remained in the starting lineup – and the C’s are 2-0.

But perhaps there shouldn’t be so much focus on who’s starting the game, and instead who’s out there at the end of games.

As of Sunday, Tatum led all of the NBA in fourth-quarter plus/minus, at plus-149, meaning while he’s on the court in the 4th quarter, the Celtics have outscored opponents by 149 points.

Rookie wall or not, expect to see plenty of Tatum down the stretch as the Celtics position themselves for a playoff run.

 
 
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