Tatum is going into his third NBA season. And during an interview discussing his goals for this upcoming season, he had 3 things to do: average 20 a game, become a first time all star, and to win the NBA finals. Two of those three goals should be achieved by the 21 year old. Averaging 20 would be a good next step for an up and coming NBA star, and becoming an all star in the Eastern Conference should not be difficult if he is averaging 20. So what does Tatum need to do to accomplish these goals?
Tatum was the leading man on a Celtics team 2 years ago that went to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tatum had a phenomenal rookie run, but last year his numbers went up just a little, and his efficiency went down. Tatum worked out with Kobe before this past season, and as a result, we saw him take a number of unnecessary, contested mid range jumpers. Tatum needs to take a big step going into this season.
He needs to work on a few things, and it seems like he knows what to do. NBA skills coach, Drew Hanlen has been working with Tatum this offseason. He said, “I think last year the biggest thing was he settled too much. When he felt contact he would sidestep, step away, and sort of fade away, which he’s capable of making but also are not high-percentage shots,“. Tatum needs to not settle for low percentage looks from mid range. Tatum shot 43% from three his rookie year on 3 attempts a game. He needs to take threes when they are available, and he needs to not shoot so many mid range jumpers. This leads to another area he needs to work on.
Tatum is a 6’8” forwards who is continuing to add muscle and strength to help him out. He needs to get to the free throw line way more. He’s only taking 3 free throws a game for his career. Not great for a modern era forward. The Celtics as a team last year were second to last in free throws attempted per game. Not only are free throws extremely high percentage shots, but getting to the rim also leads to high percentage shots. If Tatum takes more threes and gets to the free throw line even just a few more times, he will definitely average 20+ points.
As for his prediction of the Celtics winning the title, that will be a little more difficult than the 20 points. And the all star selection. He will need to do those things, but the team will need to play extremely well together. The Celtics will need Kemba Walker and Tatum to lead the way offensively. Something Kemba is used to from his time in Charlotte. Tatum will need to develop good chemistry with Kemba in order for them to both succeed. Playing together for team USA is a great place to develop that chemistry. But it’s still a tall task to ask this new look Celtics team to win banner number 18, but it’s not some crazy goal that could never happen.
I look forward to Tatum becoming a star, and I would expect him to start looking like one very soon. If you watch these highlights below, you’ll see that most of the plays are Tatum either driving to the hoop, or shooting threes.
(you’ll also see he’s got a great poster collection for such a young player)
(Via: House of Highlights)