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Quick Larry Bird/Jayson Tatum comparison at age 23


This article is certainly not about proposing that Jayson Tatum's present level, or his future potential, is equal to Larry Bird, but rather to compare their statistics at the age of 23 years for both. Larry was in his rookie season at age 23, while Jayson recently turned 23 in his fourth season in Boston. Here are the numbers"

Bird:

36.0 MPG - 21.3 PPG - 10.4 RPG - 4.5 APG - 1.7 SPG - 3.2 TOPG - .474 FG - .406 3s - .836 FT

Tatum:

35.7 MPG - 25.3 PPG - 6.9 RPG - 4.4 APG - 1.4 SPG - 2.5 TOPG - .447 FG - .373 3s - .856 FT

The minutes/game are the same, so the comparison has a level of validity. Bird gets the nod on rebounds, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage - no surprises there. Tatum beating out Larry on free-throw shooting is a bit of a surprise, and Jayson also takes honors on points per game. Assists and steals are fairly close.

One of Bird's best seasons was the 1984-85 campaign - his sixth with the Boston Celtics. Larry was 28 years old at the time, an age when many NBA player reach their peak. Here is what the Bird Man accomplished that year:

39.5 MPG - 28.7 PPG - 10.5 RPG - 6.6 APG - .522 FG - .427 3s - .882 FT

It can be argued that Bird was a rookie at the age of 23, while Tatum's numbers come after three full seasons in the NBA - thereby making the comparison a weak one. I strongly disagree with that stand. Larry had four years of seasoning in college against tough competition, thus his advancement from year-one to year-6 was not profound. Make of it as you wish.




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