Boston Celtics: 3 thoughts on a gritty win over the Miami Heat

Aaron Nesmith #26 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Aaron Nesmith #26 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Celtics thought No. 1: What on earth is going on with Jayson Tatum?

We are now nine games into the regular season, and we have still yet to see any sign of the real Jayson Tatum. The Tatum that has started off the 2021-22 season is a person who looks like they have never touched a basketball in their life. Tatum’s struggles are seriously hurting this team, and he needs to figure out what’s wrong and get back on track.

Tatum came out slow, but he has been downright awful as of late. Factoring in his ugly 3-13 shooting performance tonight, in which he didn’t score his first point until the fourth quarter, Tatum’s numbers through nine games are not indicative of the player Boston has come to know and love.

Tatum is averaging 22.7 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, and 3.4 assists per game. On the surface, those numbers aren’t really anything to complain about. A deeper dive shows Tatum is taking an absurd amount of shots per game (22.3), while hitting a pathetic amount of them (37.3 percent overall, 27.1 percent on three pointers).

This just isn’t good enough for a player of Tatum’s caliber. This is the same player that scored 40+ points six times over a 24 game stretch to close out last season. Tatum has developed a reputation as an elite scorer in this league, but so far this season, he just hasn’t produced.

Next. Marcus Smart has officially lost his mind. dark

At this stage, you can make an argument Tatum isn’t playing as good as the average NBA player. In fact, his Value Over Replacement Player (which measures how effective a player is compared to a replacement level player) is -0.1, so he’s quite literally been worse than a free agent you could bring in off the streets.

Until Tatum figures out what is wrong, he’s going to continue hurting his team. He’s a solid defensive player, but it’s not the reason he takes the court every night. Tatum’s still playing because the threat of him finally finding the bottom of the bucket still exists each and every time he takes a shot. But until he can figure this out, Boston’s offense will likely continue to struggle as a result.