Some experts (and oddsmakers) are eyeing the Boston Celtics as a potential candidate to overtake the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference once the NBA resumes play in late July. But they’ll need a little help to get there, to say the least.
Enter: Jayson Tatum.
The 21-year-old has done big things in his third season with the Celtics. On top of being named an All-Star for the first time in his NBA career, Tatum averaged a whopping 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 59 games (including two 41-point performances) before the 2019-20 season was halted March 11 due to COVID-19.
If you ask Scottie Pippen, Tatum will help lead the charge as the Celtics seek their first championship since 2008. In fact, the NBA Hall of Famer believes Tatum currently has what it takes to be the best player on an NBA title team.
“I think this has been a breakout season for Tatum,” Pippen said Monday on ESPN’s “The Jump.” “He started this season sort of on a mission to separate himself from the other players that have grown and developed as well as really showing some leadership, I think, by becoming an All-Star this season. But his scoring was really starting to peak right there (before the league suspended play over COVID-19). He, again, separated himself a little bit from the other players to show that he was going to be the go-to guy, the offensive leader for that team. And I think if this team is to make a run, it has to rely on Tatum’s ability to carry them offensively. And I feel like he’s totally ready.”
We couldn’t agree more.
The Celtics resume play July 31 against the Bucks. No players have tested positive for COVID-19 or opted out of the season restart at Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla.