Jayson Tatum is set up for a monster season in 2021-22 with the Boston Celtics. Last season was disrupted by a positive COVID diagnosis, but once Tatum recovered he went on an absolute tear, dropping 50 in both the play-in tournament and in the first round of the playoffs.
The one area where Tatum could use substantial improvement comes in the form of drawing fouls. The All-Star has struggled with that aspect of the game ever since his rookie year. We can comfortably attribute some of those struggles to the fact that Tatum was a skinny kid coming into the league. It made getting to the rim difficult and absorbing contact even more so.
He's added on a bit of muscle mass in the four years he's been in the league, but still struggled to consistently get calls in the paint last season. Part of that is normal growing pains. Tatum hasn't yet reached the level of status where referees give him the benefit of the doubt on 50/50 calls, colloquially known as getting superstar calls. There's no formula to get to that point. Once it happens, it happens.
But part of it is, again, that Tatum has never been a big wing. His advantages come from his length and athleticism rather than size and physicality. He is apparently doing his best to fix that this offseason.
This is really the last step in Tatum's game for him to take before he becomes a full-fledged generational talent. He averaged 26.4 PPG last season while taking only 5.3 free throws per game. That's 23rd in the NBA, behind the likes of Collin Sexton, Jerami Grant, and Pascal Siakam. Tatum would inch into league-leading territory as far as his points per game average goes with only two additional trips to the charity stripe per contest next year.
Tatum undoubtedly knows that better than any of us. So this offseason is when he's going to work to fix it. Good luck to anyone trying to check him if he fully unlocks his offensive potential by doing so.