Has Jayson Tatum surpassed the next big thing?
ESPN NBA analyst Jay Williams argued Wednesday on “Get Up” the Boston Celtics star is better than New Orleans Pelicans phenom Zion Williamson. Williams ranking his top NBA players aged 21 or younger when he pegged Tatum above Williamson, behind only Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic. Williamson cites Tatum’s recent hot streak, in which he has scored 25 or more points in nine of Boston’s last 11 games, as evidence of his standing ahead of Williamson, one of the most highly touted rookies in recent NBA history.
“I would go Jayson Tatum second,” Williams said. “I said it before. I said it on this show: ‘Jayson Tatum is a top-five player in the East, and people across the media were like ‘Oh, what are you talking about?’ Now you’re watching, now you’re seeing.
“I still think Trae Young can go up, I still think Ja Morant can go up, but I still have Zion as that third.”
After overcoming a preseason knee injury, Williamson has averaged 23.3 points and 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in the first 13 games of his NBA career. However, it’s worth noting the Pelicans have gone 7-6 with him on the court.
Tatum is averaging career-highs 23.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his third NBA season. His play has been instrumental to the Celtics winning 13 of their last 16 games, and experts now are debating whether he is or isn’t an NBA superstar.
Naysayers might point to the fact Tatum is 21 and Williamson is just 19, but Williams wasn’t ranking his top 21 and under players based on their upside. Williams looks at the NBA now and makes the Tatum-over-Williamson determination.