Jayson Tatum

6-8, 205 Small Forward
Duke Freshman
03/03/98 (23.8 yrs)
St. Louis, MO
High School
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling

NBA Comparison: Allan Houston/Danny Granger

Strengths: Tatum lived up to lofty expectations placed upon him in his freshman season at Duke, as a result of being heralded as a top-five high-school recruit by virtually every recruiting database … Despite the fact that he missed the first eight games of the season with a foot injury, Tatum developed into an absolute superstar by the end of the season for the Blue Devils, averaging 16.8 points, 7.3 boards, and 2.3 assists per game … Tatum’s NBA potential begins with his prototypical physical profile for a wing player … Standing at 6-8, with a 6-11 wingspan, he has an excellent frame that appears will fill out over time with broad shoulders and great hip mobility for his size … Tatum is a fluid athlete with long strides in the open court and the ability to cover a lot of ground … Another great tool Tatum offers is his ability to play small ball four man in short stretches like he did frequently at Duke. His uncommon skillset is visible right away in his ability to corral defensive rebounds and push the ball up the court effortlessly in transition … He is also great on the fast break off the ball, as he understands how to fill lanes correctly and get himself an easy finish at the rim … His impressively long strides also come to play in the half court, where he can catch from the arc and get all the way to the tin in one dribble … He has great extension when finishing at the rim, and his long wingspan allows him to finish above the rim in space … Tatum’s most intriguing selling point, however, is his highly advanced offensive skillset in the half court, and his NBA ready scoring ability … He is an exceptionally polished scorer for a 19 year old, having the ability to operate from all three levels. He is at his best in the mid-range area where he can create space and shoot over the top of the defense with a high release point on his jumper … He also has outstanding footwork and is never too sped up by the defense … Tatum excels out of the mid-post area as well where he has a variety of moves in his arsenal to beat his man … One of his weaknesses coming out of high school was his below average spot-up shooting from three-point territory … Tatum has improved in this area, as he is most certainly a capable threat from deep, especially off the drive and kick … He has also always been a terrific free-throw shooter (84.9% this season), which provides plenty of promise for further improvement down the road … He is also a good pick and pop threat when needed to play the four … He is particularly strong with his one dribble pull-up jumper going to his left, and he just does a great overall job of attacking hard closeouts with superb footwork … Tatum is probably the best isolation scorer in the draft as well … He utilizes a variety of hesitation pull-ups, jab steps, step backs, crossovers, spins, etc., and he can stop on a dime with ease to get into his shot … He was an absolute nightmare four opposing four men to guard, especially in the mid range, where he used his shiftiness and creativity to get into his mid-range game at will … He also is great at changing speeds in isolation situations to keep his defender off balance and get to the rim … Tatum is a handful to guard when facing up in the post … Defenders have to respect his ability to rise into his jump shot, but he counters this well with an explosive first step off the dribble going to his right … He also employs an occasional Dirk-like fall away jumper that is nearly impossible to guard, and he is great overall feel for where the defender is when posting up … He is still improving as a playmaker, but he has good vision in transition and can see over the top of the defense off the pick and roll … Tatum also has the tools to hold his own on the defensive end in the NBA as well in large part due to his size and length … He slides his feet very well when locked in and uses his length to his advantage (1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals per 40 minutes) … He can cover a lot of ground when closing out on shooters, as he would often run all the way from the ball side of the court and force a difficult shot when the ball was skipped over to his man … He also has the agility to contain quick perimeter players off the dribble and the length to consistently force contested shots … He shows flashes of great instincts and can cover a lot of ground rotating from the weak side to protect the rim … Tatum has good hands off the ball and anticipates passing lanes well … He proved to be a factor on the defensive glass, posting a clip 7.2 d-boards per 40 minutes … His professional approach to the game and work ethic are also noteworthy … He consistently demonstrated the ability to stay calm in pressure situations and come up big in crunch time … His game will fit well in the NBA, and he should be an immediate impact scorer … He is one of the more unique players in this draft and can be considered a low-risk, high-reward player …

Weaknesses: One of the first flaws that jump out in Tatum’s game is his inconsistent intensity on defense … At times, he seems to just go through the motions defensively and didn’t demonstrate the competitive desire to lock his man down … In addition, he is an excellent small-ball four on offense, but the same cannot be said about his defensive impact from this position … He is not physical enough to handle bigger players down low, and he needs to add some strength to his lower half … His technique on the perimeter can improve, as his closeouts can be quite lazy, allowing for his man to get by him with little resistance … He is also not the most physical perimeter defender and can do a better job of getting in his stance and containing the dribble … In transition, he does not always sprint back to the paint to help out against penetrating guards in the open court … In an NBA game nowadays that is heavily predicated on up-tempo offense with an abundance of quick guards who love to get in the lane on the break, this is something that he must address … One of the other question marks is that he is still a streaky spot-up shooter … He shot 34.3% from the arc at Duke this past season, which is not bad, but it is not good enough to classify him as an elite knockdown shooter … He is much better as a mid-range shooter and there are questions about if he will be able to adapt to the expanded three-point line in the NBA … Off the catch, his mechanics do not look quite as fluid when he is contested, and he is not always balanced on his release, which can also be a bit quicker … He also must become a more reliable scoring threat off the pick and roll … In these situations, defenders would mostly go under the ball screen, and he frequently would not make them pay with his pull up when this happened … Tatum also was guarded mostly by power forwards, so there are concerns about whether he will be able to create offense as effectively against NBA caliber wing players … His handle can be tightened, as he plays a bit too upright with the ball, making him less explosive … He does not have great burst from a stand still position, which causes him to struggle getting to the rim, and he has trouble finishing against top tier length and athleticism … This forces him to heavily rely on tough floaters and two-point jumpers, which is an inefficient way to score … Tatum can further refine his decision making on offense, as he can be too dependent on isolation offense, even if he excels in these situations … He is not the most comfortable playmaker on the move, and because of his inconsistent spot-up shooting in addition to that; there are questions about his effectiveness off the ball … These few factors will determine how high Tatum’s ceiling is …

Notes: Measured 6’8.25 in shoes, 204 lbs, 6’11 wingspan, and a 8’10.5 standing reach at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit … 2016 Gatorade National Player of the Year and Gatorade National Male Athlete of the Year … Named to McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic Game … Owns three gold medals as a member of the USA Basketball program: 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship and 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship … Third-Team All-ACC Selection and member of All-ACC Freshman Team …

William P. Desautelle III 6/14/17

Strengths: 6’8 smooth and versatile wing prospect … Good size, length, and fluidity for a wing. Uses size and length to shoot over defenders. Good half-court offensive game … Can score and distribute out of the high post … Transitions well from set shooting position into a low driving position and vice versa … Advanced footwork. Uses pivots, step backs, and fade aways … Very good midrange scorer and has begun to extend his shooting range … Can score from multiple spots on the floor … Handles the ball well and has solid court vision. Can create for himself off the dribble … Has shown the ability to facilitate with the ball in his hands over his high school career … Does an excellent job of forcing contact and getting to the foul line … Understands how to play around the rim, can be a mismatch for smaller defenders as well as challenge bigger defenders … High level rebounder for a wing … Strong competitor. Seems to have self awareness and plays for the team … Solid defender, has the tools and ability to guard multiple positions … Shows surprising leadership for a player his age … Doesn’t have any major weaknesses to his game …

Weaknesses: A high level athlete, but not a jump out of the gym freak … Lacks strength for physical play at higher levels but should add strength in time … Has the ability to make difficult shots but tends to settle for deep contested shots. Fades away at times when it’s unnecessary … Shooting is decent, but in need of improvement. Form doesn’t show any major issues, but is more of a solid shooter than knockdown at this point … Can improve range and consistency as a three point shooter … Can improve finishing in traffic by adding strength … Very long and smooth, but lacks a great burst off the dribble. First step is just average … Tends to over-dribble at times … Likely a 3 as his lack of great foot speed limits his effectiveness off the dribble, and his size and shooting fits the 3 position …

Outlook: Tatum has been on the radar for a few years and considered one of the top prospects in the talented 2016 high school class.  His commitment along with Harry Giles headlines a talented incoming Duke freshman class and projects to make an impact early on. He was named to the McDonald’s All American Game, Jordan Brand Classic, and Nike Hoop Summit; with a solid showing in each game.

Notes: Measured 6’8 (in shoes) 193 lbs, with a 6’9 wingspan at the 2014 Kevin Durant Skills Academy

Evan Tomes 7/1/16

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