Jayson Tatum was ranked in Sports Illustrated’s top 10 NBA players in their annual top 100 list.
It seems that while there may well still be some debate about where in the NBA’s top 10 players we should rank Boston Celtics star forward Jayson Tatum, a consensus appears to be forming that the St. Louis native is undeniably in the league’s elite pantheon of superstars.
And such was the assessment of a trio of Sports Illustrated NBA analysts Rohan Nadkarni, Chris Herring, and Jeremey Woo in their final segment of their annual top 100 players list released on Thursday morning. While he has yet to crack the Most Valuable Player candidate list of the top five players in the NBA, the trio have Tatum at No. 9 overall in the league.
Here is the write-up from Sports Illustrated.
When you consider Tatum’s height, wingspan, defensive acumen, shooting stroke and offensive sophistication at only 24 years old, it’s like he was built in a lab for the modern NBA. Tatum is everything a team could hope for and more in a young wing, and he’s the type of player who should be leading the Celtics deep into the playoffs for years to come.
Over 64% of Tatum’s shots were either pull-up threes or within 10 feet of the hoop in 2022, making him incredibly difficult to contain. Give him an inch of space on the perimeter and he can unleash his deadly sidestep three. Try to take away his jumper and he can use his athleticism and broad shoulders to make space for himself in the paint. And though there’s still some fine tuning to be done as a playmaker, when faced with hard traps and doubles in the postseason, Tatum showed he was more often than not adept at making the right read.
Meanwhile, Tatum’s defense is a major factor in the Celtics being able to switch everything and choke out opponents. At 6’8″, he can guard most players on the floor at any given time. Possibly still a couple years away from his true prime, Tatum is threatening to climb this list quickly in the years to come.
I think Sports Illustrated is correct putting him at 9. The hope is that this season he proves he is a Top 5 player. Tatum simply needs to prove he can be the Celtics’ closer and put this team on his back consistently. I have no doubt Tatum will prove that this year.