Jayson Tatum Profile
Weight: 204 pounds
Tatum is the most NBA-ready player in the draft. He has an incredibly high floor and can almost certainly put up solid point totals in the NBA right now. He has a great body, and while he’s only 204 pounds, he carries it really well, with broad shoulders and adequate length (6’11” wingspan) for a wing player. He just looks like an NBA player already.
As a freshman, Tatum average 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.3 steals in 33.3 minutes per game. He is an excellent finisher around the rim and has the ability to fill it up consistently. He’s a scorer right now, with a really nice jumper, and can make plays getting to the hoop. His athleticism won’t show up in his game as consistently as others in this class, but he is a very good athlete.
While he was inconsistent on the defensive end at Duke, Tatum has the raw ability and size to turn into a solid player at that end. With proper motivation and coaching he should turn into a plus-defender in time.
While Tatum does have the highest floor in the class, his ceiling isn’t incredibly high. There isn’t much projection left to his game, except maybe becoming a better defender and becoming a more consistent 3-point shooter (34.2 percent as a freshman). I expect his long-range shooting to improve based on the quality of the release and rotation on his shot, but his defense will need work.
Tatum is athletic and can get to the basket, but he’s not particularly quick and doesn’t have a great first step, which will hurt him against elite defenders at the next level. He also was ball-dominant at Duke, something that won’t fly for a rookie playing on the wing in the NBA.
Like several guys in this year’s class, Tatum could have been a No. 1 pick in a weaker year. He’s got a great shot at winning Rookie of the Year because he should have the smoothest transition to the league of anyone. He may not become a superstar long-term, but he’ll likely reach his peak as fast as anyone in this draft. At worst he’ll be a solid NBA player for a long time.