I am a huge Jayson Tatum fan. I love how gifted he is on the offensive side of the basketball at such a young age. That being said, he has played poorly the last two games and has not been his usual aggressive self. He missed a dunk, committed silly turnovers and, most importantly, didn’t attack the stationary chair, umm..I mean, JR Smith defending him.
Tatum shot just 38%, and tallied up a measly assist and a couple of rebounds. Interestingly enough after the game I realized Tatum has not looked good since Kobe Bryant’s “Detail” on him, which came out before game 3. I looked into the numbers, and found that Tatum’s +/- is -25 since that episode aired. (Yes, it doesn’t help that the Celtics have been summarily beaten in both those games, but Tatum’s performance played a major part in that.)
Tatum was of course hyped about the episode:
“I’ve probably watched [the ‘Detail’ video] like 25 times already. It’s very helpful information that I can take with me.”
This is completely normal considering he is only 20 years old and Kobe is his favorite player. Tatum has had a wonderful season and has earned all of the praise he is getting. But, as my colleague Kyle pointed out, that is almost 8 hours worth of watch time if he actually did watch it 25 times. After his performances in game 3 and 4, I think it is fair to ask if should he have been putting that time into preparing for the Cleveland Cavaliers instead? As it stands now given a +/- baseline of zero, each viewing has added a minus to his total.
Is it the Kobe ‘Detail’ Curse? So far every player profiled has lost afterwards…
Maybe Bryant’s study of them is getting to their head? Or maybe it’s just road jitters for a 20 year old in his first playoffs? I’m certain the fact that he isn’t being guarded by JJ Reddick and Marco Belinelli anymore has something to do with it, although JR Smith is not much of an improvement over those matadors.
Who knows? The numbers are definitely alarming, but the entire Boston Celtics squad has struggled in Cleveland. Either way, the C’s need Tatum to be a predator to have a chance at this series. I see him bouncing back in G5, and hope we get to see an actual good game this round.