Richard Jefferson: Celtics' Jayson Tatum 'the future of this league'

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Richard Jefferson: Jayson Tatum 'is the future of this league' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

What is Jayson Tatum's ceiling?

The Boston Celtics forward has blossomed into an NBA star. He set career-highs in almost every major statistic during the 2020-21 season and earned his second All-Star nod.

There will be plenty more accolades where that came from, but what does Tatum have to do to develop into one of the game's elites?

Tatum names his top five players in NBA right now

ESPN analyst and former NBA star Richard Jefferson shared what he wants to see from Tatum going forward while heaping praise onto the 23-year--old.

"When players become great, you start splitting hairs," Jefferson said. "When we say splitting hairs, that means that OK, yes he is great, he is 23 years old, but let's be critical of him. Let's push him to see how great he can be. And sometimes people take that the wrong way.

He is going to be an All-NBA player for many, many years to come.

Richard Jefferson on Jayson Tatum

"Like, me personally, I think Jayson Tatum has a beautiful shot. Shot 40 percent his rookie year, you see that shot continuing to develop. But I want to see him be more aggressive going to the cup. I want to see him getting 8 to 10 free throws a night that way when he's a 5-for-15, he could still score 25 points and win the game because he's 9-for-10 from the free throw line. It's when you have an off night and you're only getting four free throws because you're not really going downhill and you're settling for jumpers.

"I think Jayson Tatum is the future of this league. He is going to be an All-NBA player for many, many years to come. The weird part about it is now being so young and so talented, that we have to kind of start critiquing things that aren't really there, just ways for him to become maybe a future MVP."

Tatum already is one of the game's premier scorers. He produced 40 or more points in six games during the regular season including a 60-point outburst vs. San Antonio. Now, it's just a matter of consistency and getting the job done on the biggest stage.

A couple of signature performances in the Celtics' first-round series vs. Brooklyn would be a good place to start.