Jayson Tatum
How good is Jayson Tatum? (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

A title that’s so simple, yet so complex at the same time. How good is Jayson Tatum? It seems to be a polarizing topic across the NBA community. I’m the same one. One day I think Tatum is destined to be the washed version of Carmelo taking dumb mid-range shots that just never seem to go in. The next day I think he’s a super-duper star. Just how good is Jayson Tatum? I still don’t think we know.

We do this far too often in the NBA. These 19-year-old kids come into the NBA and we rush to judge them right away. With any young player, they go up and down. Tatum has really high, highs. That’s about all you can ask for. Tatum, 21, is averaging 21.6 points per game at such a young age. Just look at his draft class. Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball, etc. Tatum is better than all of them or at least outperforming them by a mile at this point. Let’s give Tatum this, he’s playing way better than basically anyone in his draft class.

Tatum is shooting is actually down this year. 42 percent from the floor and 35.6 from 3. Both of those marks would be the worst of his career in any season. Still, when you watch Tatum play, he looks better than he ever has. Tatum has become more aggressive and is starting to knock down more shots in the paint. As a rookie from 3-10 feet, Tatum knocked down just .263 percent. That number is now up to .434 percent.

Tatum is much more willing to go to the rim this year. He still takes the occasional bad shot. Still, Tatum just looks like a better basketball player. He’s upped his scoring average. The former Duke product is also averaging 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and has improved his defense.

How good is Jayson Tatum? I still don’t know, but he has looked like the Celtics’ best and most consistent player on their team. A team that is the number two seed in the East as of now. Maybe there is something to be said with the chemistry with Kemba Walker instead of Kyrie Irving. When Tatum gets hot, he can become a walking bucket. If anything is clear, Tatum is a clear and obvious max rookie extension player. Danny Ainge got this one right.