The Celtics were able to finish off the Hawks in an exciting game six last Thursday night. Jayson Tatum provided the Celtics with 30, 14 and 7 and Brown gave an additional 32 points. Looking solely at Thursday’s box score, why would the question of worrying about Jayson Tatum even come up?
Tatum’s Wrist Injury
Tatum is remembered to have a subpar performance in last year’s Finals, losing to the Warriors in six games. That was a series they led 2-0 after two games as well. Tatum averaged 21.5 points, a season in which he averaged 27 points.
The last four games of the Hawks-Celtics series saw Tatum shooting 29.5% from 3. Is this just a slump, or could it potentially be something larger? Tatum shot 35% from 3-point range during the regular season, and continued his hot hand into the first two games of the series. His combined shooting in the first two games from 3 equaled to an even 50%.
After the 2022 playoff run, Jayson Tatum revealed that he had a “small non-displaced” in his wrist which, even minor, caused him pain through the intensity and physicality of the playoffs.
With the wear and tear of an NBA season, could this injury be behind Tatum’s inefficient shooting numbers? The statistics point to that conclusion.
Tatum’s Decrease in Points and Percentages
Boston was predicted by most experts to finish the series against Atlanta in a sweep or gentleman’s sweep. However, after a six-game series with the 7-seeded Hawks, Tatum’s injury might be of concern for Boston in a deep playoff run.
Jayson Tatum claimed that the worst his injury in the 2022 postseason felt was against Milwaukee, during a block attempt by Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the first round, Tatum averaged 29.5 on 45.6% overall, 42% from 3. The next series against Milwaukee saw a slight decrease in PPG at 27.6 on 42.9% and 37% from 3. Against Miami, Tatum had 25 points per game and 35% shooting from 3. Finally, against the Warriors, Tatum shot his lowest out of all series at 21.5 points on 36.7% overall shooting.
In total, Jayson Tatum played 100 games for the Celtics in the 2021-22 season. If the Celtics are to see a deep playoff run, a decline in Tatum’s points and shooting percentage could possibly be observed again, and may cost them another championship-less playoff run. So should the Celtics be worrying about Jayson Tatum?
The Celtics start their second-round series against their Atlantic division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night at 7:30 PM EST in Boston.
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(Featured image credited to Boston Celtics/Twitter)