Skip to main content

Boston Celtics: SI ranks Jayson Tatum (#35) and Kemba Walker (#20) in Top-100

Five Boston Celtics players made SI's latest Top-100 NBA players list for 2020, and in a previous article I wrote about Marcus Smart (ranked #82), Jaylen Brown (#68) and Gordon Hayward (#59). Jayson Tatum came in at #35 and Kemba Walker was ranked 20th in SI's analysis. This is what SI's Rob Mahoney had to say about Jayson and Kemba:

Jayson Tatum: #35: It might be helpful to compartmentalize the version of Jayson Tatum we saw last season from the player he could be one day. That isn’t to deny the existence of the former; Tatum’s mystifying efforts to become a mid-post specialist proved to be a failure on every level. If that is the crux of his game, he will level out as a player without so much as sniffing stardom. That said, cleaning up his shot profile even slightly would go a long way. The 21-year-old has a lot of the qualities teams look for in a centerpiece prospect: three-level scoring, strong defensive fundamentals, positional fluidity—Tatum even has an NBA proof of concept with his performance in the 2018 playoffs. You can see all the pieces, if only Tatum could crystallize his game a bit. There have been too many nights where Tatum becomes just another guy: a positive contributor, but a forgettable one. Some of that was the byproduct of Boston’s ensemble last season. Some other part stems from the way Tatum has operated thus far. Once that changes, so will his status within the league.

I feel Tatum is well on his way to correcting the negative issues in his game. He is becoming a solid rebounder, and his improved passing skills (and his proclivity to distribute the ball) were recently evident in World Cup play. Few doubt his potential for NBA stardom, and that may happen this season.

Kemba Walker: #20: Pick-and-roll basketball is still the core of the modern NBA, and Kemba Walker is among its chief practitioners. This wasn’t always the case. Walker spent the first half of his career letting defenses off the hook by stepping into long, difficult twos. Those shots are not only inefficient, but static; defenders aren’t forced into uncomfortable situations when a ball-handler comes around a screen in predictable fashion and hoists up a tough shot, which means that the actual power of the sequence goes wasted. The point of running a pick-and-roll is not to get Walker a semi-open shot. It’s to push defenders to the point of panic.

For Walker, that could be as simple as hesitating in the space behind the screen, forcing more conservative defenses into a gut check. It could be the way he chooses to snake through a pick-and-roll rather than attempt a straight-line drive, extending his stay in the areas of the floor most sensitive to a team defense. Or it might even start earlier: before a screen is ever set, where Walker uses a subtle step to set up his defender to be creamed. Opponents have to respect the possibility that Walker might pull up for a three at any time. That makes him a risk from about 25 feet in, which has a way of making opponents antsy before Walker ever makes his move.

The only real downsides with Walker can be pegged to his size. Coaches are generally pleased with the way he goes about his work on defense, but any player this small (Walker is a listed 6’1’’, which feels somewhat generous) will give up marginal advantages over the course of the game. It’s just easier for opponents to see over—and shoot over—the top of him. Walker gets some of those points back by positioning himself well and drawing a ton of offensive fouls, but on a certain level he will always be an undersized guard in a league oriented around verticality. Walker was blocked more than any player in the league last season. There will be passes around bigger, longer defenders that he can’t quite manage. What makes Walker a star is that he just keeps coming anyway, once more unto the breach.

I absolutely agree that the only downside of Walker is his size. Even 6'3" Kyrie Irving was somewhat small for what the Celtics try to do. Kemba at 6'1" has an even bigger (or smaller?) issue. It is to a players credit when an analyst, just as Mahoney, lists Kemba's only real liability as something that can't be improved - his height.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Elm Street Nightmare

 A true-and-suspenseful horror tale of haunting, homicides and the hunt for triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante - as told by the cops that were there By Lt. Thomas Lane (Ret.)  Daniel Laplante - cold, calm, clever, calculating- Photo: YouTube   Elm Street  surfaces on four occasions in the Laplante saga: 1.) He  resided on Elm Street  in Townsend, Massachusetts 2.) He  kidnapped a woman  at gunpoint on  Elm Street, Pepperell , Massachusetts 3.) He was arrested and transported to Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Elm Street in Concord . 3.) He was  tried, convicted   and sentenced for the murders at  Superior Court , corner of  Elm Stree t and Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. When evil and cleverness reside in the same mind, the stage is often set for true horror. Such was the case with triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante . As a 16-year old , he quickly transitioned from: Minor thefts and breaking into homes To: Taunting and threatening a father and his two daughters as an unseen

Anna Horford let's fan know Al's value to the Boston Celtics

 Some fans of pro basketball just take the contrary view just to be...well - contrary , with no solid basis for their stand. Such was the case when when Al Horford's sister, Anna Horford, overheard an argument centered around the value of her brother to the Boston Celtics . No true Boston fan doesn’t love Al!! — Stephanie (@smars319) November 23, 2021 Al's value. Let's take a look at his team stats : Scoring: 4th at 13.1 PPG Rebounds: 2nd at 8.7 RPG Assists: 3rd at 3.5 APG Steals: 4th at 0.9 SPG Blocks: 1st at 1.9 BPG (tied with Giannis for 6th place in the NBA) Minutes: 6th at 29.4 MPG   One more thing about the blocks. That is new for Al . He is the only player over 29 years of age in the top-6 in blocks. Horford is 35. This gem-of-an-individual needs to prove nothing to Celtics fans, but I bet he needs to prove something to himself. Have I ever mentioned I love this guy?

Nik Stauskas adds "shooting with size" voiced by Brad Stevens

 As a 6'6" shooting guard, 28-year-old Nik Stauskas adds that shooting with size sorely needed by the Boston Celtics. Drafted 8th-overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, Stauskas has bounced around to various teams since then. Nik Stauskas' deal with the Boston Celtics includes non-guaranteed salary for the second season in 2022-23, a source tells @celticsblog . — Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) March 4, 2022 Nik has never averaged more than 9.5 points per game in the NBA, but Boston is most likely counting on his production for Grand Rapids in the G League as the incentive to sign him. In 17 games thus far, he has averaged 24.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.8 APG - while shooting 50% on field goals and 45% on treys. Nik Stauskas is signing a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics, his agents Mark Bartelstein and Andy Shiffman of @PrioritySports tell ESPN. Stauskas had an historic week, scoring 100 points on 57 and 43 point performances in back-to-back games for Grand Rapids. — Adrian Wo