Boston’s Jayson Tatum lauded among NBA players making major leaps forward

The Boston Celtics’ hot start to the 2022-23 NBA season has been powered in no small part by the leap forward made by superstar forward Jayson Tatum, with the St. Louis native’s Most Valuable Player-caliber play contributing to a high rate of Celtics wins this season.

Some of that growth has come on the defensive end of the court, with Tatum morphing into one of the better players on that end of the court on the team. Some of it has been offensive growth with his stronger frame and higher motor translating into career-high scoring numbers for the Duke alumnus.

That growth has caught the attention of NBA analysts around the league, with HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina writing about Tatum’s leap and how it has Boston “looking like the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, if not the outright championship, with his play.”

“It might be cliche to say, but Tatum’s 2022-23 has all of the classic makings of a superstar coming out on fire due to having a chip on their shoulder after falling just short of a championship the year prior,” writes Urbina.

“The fact Tatum’s play was lackluster (by his standards) in the Finals defeat to Golden State has probably only further fueled his outstanding start to the year.”

“One of the biggest factors to Tatum’s success has been his tougher approach to the game, attacking aggressively more often and getting to the foul stripe more than ever,” suggests the H/H analyst.

“Tatum is shooting a career-high 9.1 free throws this year, nearly 3.0 more than his previous career-best rate. He’s also shattering his previous career-high mark in free-throw rate, now at 0.433; his previous best mark, back in 2017-18, was 0.309.”

“All in all, that final step Tatum took to get to the foul line more has changed his game and made him an even bigger superstar in today’s NBA,” adds Urbina.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire