Boston Celtics

Stars, studs, duds: Jayson Tatum shows atypically ideal skills for rookie

Stars, studs, duds: Jayson Tatum shows atypically ideal skills for rookie

SALT LAKE CITY – Whenever you talk to an NBA rookie, they tend to speak about how the pro game is so much faster, physically and mentally, than what they’re used to. 

As we’ve seen time and time again, this leads to them playing at faster pace than they probably should. 

And then there’s Boston rookie Jayson Tatum whose pace was atypically ideal in Boston’s 81-70 summer league loss to San Antonio on Wednesday. 

Drafted by Boston with the third overall pick, Tatum tallied a double-double against the Spurs with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

“He’s going to be a pretty good player in this league for a long time,” said Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen who is coaching Boston’s summer league team. “As the days pass, I’m beyond being surprised by what he’s able to do on floor.”

The multi-dimensional skillset Tatum was touted as having after one season at Duke, was on full display Wednesday night. 

He scored driving to the rim, from the perimeter on pull-ups and catch-and-shoots, not to mention making a couple of nifty passes for easy baskets for his teammates. 

And making it even more impressive, is he’s doing at a very cool, calm and consistent rhythm that’s uncanny for a 19-year-old in the NBA.

“The game is faster and it is an adjustment,” Tatum said. “What I try to do is play at my speed when I can … that’s where I’m comfortable at.”

And he’s doing this while the coaching staff feeds him and his teammates a steady diet of information at both ends of the floor with limited time to process with the games coming so quickly. 

Tatum takes it all in, showing no signs of being overwhelmed. 

“His soul … he seems so mature and older,” Allen said. “He doesn’t get sped up. He’s physical, he competes, he puts it on the floor … you would be hard-pressed to find another 19-year-old in this country that has the demeanor he has.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday’s game.

STARS

Bryn Forbes: His speed off the dribble and knack for knocking down spot-up jumpers gave Boston fits all game. He led all scorers with 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting.

Jayson Tatum: There would be no late-game heroics tonight for the Celtics rookie, but that doesn’t diminish from what was a second strong showing in as many games. He led the Celtics with 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting along with 10 rebounds.

STUDS

Davis Bertans: He was one of the more consistent shooters, tallying 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting which included 4-for-8 on 3’s.

Abdel Nader: He was the Celtics’ only other double-digit scorer besides Tatum, tallying 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting.

DUDS

Celtics turnovers: This more than anything else, is what killed them against the Spurs. Boston turned the ball over 19 times with five different players tallying at least two turnovers apiece. Those miscues led to 25 points for San Antonio.

30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

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30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The New Orleans Pelicans. 

Anthony Davis has waited patiently for the New Orleans Pelicans to assemble a cast around him that could be competitive in the West.
 
Still waiting...
 
The Pelicans have more big-name players on their roster this season, but those players, by and large, are well past their primes. And that will likely result in yet another playoff-less season.

 
New Orleans’ best hopes of bucking the odds and become a competitive, playoff-caliber team will hinge on how a couple of former Celtics perform.
 
Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo, both members of Boston’s 2008 championship team, will be looked upon to provide solid play as well as veteran leadership.
 
Rondo, now 31, a four-time All-Star, was in and out of the Chicago Bulls lineup last season before emerging in the playoffs with a pair of strong performances against the Celtics, which put Boston in a 2-0 series hole despite the first two games being at the TD Garden.
 
However, the point guard broke his right hand in Game 2 and was unable to return, which proved to be a major turning point as Boston went on to win the series in six games.
 
In Allen, the Pelicans add one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. And while he is 35, he doesn’t come with the kind of wear and tear you typically associate with a player his age.
 
That’s because Allen has not ever been a player to log major minutes. This past season in Memphis, Allen averaged a career-high 27.0 minutes per game.
 
Despite playing limited minutes, it still didn’t keep him from being recognized for his defense, which has led to him being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first or second team, six times (first team in 2012, 2013 and 2015; and second team in 2011, 2016 and 2017).
 
Those veterans will be important, but the key to making this work for New Orleans lies in how well Davis and DeMarcus Cousins mesh.
 
Acquired just before the trade deadline in February, the Pelicans were just 7-10 with Cousins in the lineup and 4-4 when he did not play.
 
However, that came on the fly, which is why there’s optimism in New Orleans that Davis and Cousins will work together even better with a training camp under their belts.
 
Ultimately, the Pelicans have to field a team that can be competitive, if for no other reason than to appease Davis.

While Davis has shown no signs of wanting to play elsewhere, you have to wonder just how much patience will he have with a New Orleans team that has made just one playoff appearance in his five NBA seasons.
 
Of the other 13 lottery picks from his draft, only one (Kendall Marshall) has made fewer playoff appearances.
 
Anything short of a playoff appearance will only lead to more questions about Davis being traded.
 
"I understand it's a business, but if I don't hear anything from Dell [Demps, the Pelicans general manager] or my agent, I don't pay attention to it," Davis told reporters this summer, regarding the rumors about being traded to Boston. "Once I first heard [the rumors], then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure. I found out it wasn't [true], and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven't paid attention to it since."
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Tony Allen (Memphis); Rajon Rondo (Chicago); Ian Clark (Golden State).
 
Key losses: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento); Tim Frazier (Washington); Terrence Jones (Qingdao Doublestar of Chinese Basketball Association); Langston Galloway (Detroit);
 
Rookies of note:
 None.
 
Expectations:
31-51 (fifth in the Southwest Division, 14th in the West).