Jayson Tatum has been a revelation for the Boston Celtics for much of his rookie season. The Duke product has been a huge part of Boston’s success this year, but since the calendar flipped to 2018 his effectiveness has dropped off significantly.
Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, Tatum’s struggles were clear to anyone watching. He played 31 minutes, scored just four points and added five rebounds while turning the ball over three times. He also went 1-for-6 from the field, 1-for-3 from 3-point range and hit 1-of-2 free throws.
It’s obvious at this point that Tatum has hit the rookie wall at full speed.
If you look at his shooting percentages by month, it’s clear the rookie is struggling.
-In seven October games, he shot 48.4 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range. The Celtics went 5-2.
-In 16 November games, he hit 49.7 percent of his shots from the field and 48.0 percent from 3-point range. The Celtics went 14-2.
-In December, things were still going well. In 17 games he hit 52.9 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Celtics went 11-6.
-In January, things have changed. In eight games so far this month, Tatum has hit just 39.8 percent of his field goals and has buried just 34.6 percent of his 3-point shots. So far the Celtics are 4-4 this month.
Tatum’s scoring average in January has also dropped down to 11.3 points per game, down from a December high of 14.6. His free throw percentage has also dropped from a high of 83.9 in October down to 70.0 percent in January.
Tatum played in just 29 games at Duke during his one college season. So far as rookie, he’s played in 48 games. It’s clear he’s wearing down and it’s having an impact on his game.
He’ll almost certainly catch his second wind at some point, but the Celtics are struggling now and could use an offensive boost. That is making his January swoon even more maddening.