Few months ago I wrote about Jayson Tatum and how horrible he was in the 2022 NBA Finals versus the Warriors. I would have payed every last dollar in my wallet to not see Jayson Tatum get the ball with the Warriors building walls for him on the court where I thought he’d get stripped clean of the ball the moment he put it on the floor. The Warriors’ defense was that dam good and with Gary Payton II making his return to the NBA Finals I had this image in my head prior to the NBA Finals that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were going to have their hands extremely full with the likes of Draymmond Green,Otto Porter Jr,Andrew Wiggins,and Gary Payton II hounding them all over the court and sure Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum had been to the Conference Finals a few times but they were going up against 3 basketball minds in Steve Kerr,Draymmond Green,and Stephen Curry which I didn’t see the likes of Marcus Smart,Jayson Tatum,and Jaylen Brown outsmarting in a stage they had previously been in at least 4 times already.
You’ve got a dude who I actually feared was not normal in my childhood days in Kevin Garnett praising Jayson Tatum for taking the next step in his development where he now is playing both sides at practically an elite level and that quite frankly is terrifying for the rest of the NBA. We questioned well even he questioned whether he was actually the franchise player of the storied franchise, you had NBA fans in forums actually even putting the thought out there of fellow teammate Jaylen Brown actually being better than Jayson Tatum which I always saw as comedy since Jaylen Brown just doesn’t have that natural skill Jayson Tatum has possessed since his days at Duke. Jaylen Brown coming into the league seemed like a high-school running back who the NBA just decided due to his physical tools could possibly be the next LeBron James or Dwyane Wade and sure Jaylen has come along a ton in his development as an offensive player but he’ll never be Dwyane Wade let alone LeBron James not not or ever in this lifetime. It’s not to say Jaylen Brown is a scrub because he would hold his own at a local game at The Rucker but everyone will be showing up watch Jayson Tatum.
It caught my attention when Draymmond Green claimed Jayson Tatum to have GOAT potential just like Kobe Bryant,LeBron James, and Michael Jordan himself because I understood where he was coming from. Sure Draymmond’s Warriors took out Tatum’s Celtics and even though the series went 6 games it really felt like a sweep because anyone with sufficient brain cells and that has watched the NBA for at least 15-20 years foresaw that Boston’s inconsistency on the offensive end was eventually going to bite them in the rear. They literally gave me 2011 LeBron James vibes where I was really asking myself whether the NBA was rigged because Boston could have put their foot on Milwaukee’s neck much sooner along with Miami who let Jimmy Butler smell blood Game 6 and it seemed like he spared them Game 7 but once again we were left wondering who will ever step up to the plate Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro and both disappeared when the moments got big.
With the Warriors’s reign in question being that their defense looks worse than the 2003 New York Knicks who I watched get ran out of the gym on the nightly basis every night at 7:30 pm as a kid Jayson Tatum could finally capitalize and capture his first championship which could be the beginning to a hall-of-fame career and becoming one of the possible top 15 players of all-time when it’s all said and done. This is just the way the NBA works, Celtics fans always wished Paul Pierce could be their Larry Bird in the 2000’s but he never quite lived up that billing. He made some noise with Antoine Walker but after Walker’s departure we watched him struggle till Danny Ainge sent a care package which included Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and Paul was able to compete for titles for 4-5 seasons. He finally won a title 2008 over Kobe Bryant which was the most odd scenery since I thought being that Kobe was on such a mission to prove that he can win a title without Shaq the Celtics were going to be in for the ride of their playoff lives in the Finals.
Tatum’s career in Boston has been different than Pierce’s so far. We saw him dunk over LeBron James the 2018 East Finals but no one thought Jayson Tatum was on his way to being the new sheriff in town much like Michael Jordan told Magic Johnson before the 90’s hit. Yea it sucked to watch Jayson Tatum go through a gauntlet in the East which included the likes of Kevin Durant,Giannis Antetokoumpo, and Jimmy Butler and let Stephen Curry and the Warriors play mind games with Jayson Tatum’s psyche but you live and you learn that’s life in a bottle for ya. It’s only up from here, Tatum is just hitting his prime and we stand at a time in the 60+ years of the NBA’s existence where we see Stephen Curry and LeBron James being relevant enough to carry the torche maybe another 2 seasons before someone else takes the baton. It could be Luka,Giannis,Jokic,Edwards,Zion,Morant,or Wembanyama but something about a legend being born in Boston has a different ring to it. I’ll never forget how sure Danny Ainge was when he drafted Jayson Tatum it felt like he just drafted someone who will leave his imprint someday.