BOSTON — Jayson Tatum likely won’t win NBA Rookie of the Year, but he’s shown in the playoffs that he might just become the best player from the 2017 draft class.
With his 12th point in Wednesday night’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals at TD Garden, the Boston Celtics forward became the first rookie since Seattle SuperSonics center Jack Sikma in 1978 to score 300 or more points in a single postseason.
Tatum entered Game 5 against the Cleveland Cavaliers averaging 18 points per game in the playoffs — a 4.1-point improvement from his regular-season mark.
Tatum, Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell are the only rookies to start every game of their teams’ postseason run.
Simmons, Mitchell and Tatum are the three finalists for the Rookie of the Year award.