By Justin Batiste
It was a duel between the two rookies in Phoenix last night
Last night the Boston Celtics were on the road to play the Phoenix Suns, still without star player Kyrie Irving, due to injury. The Suns were also missing their star player, shooting guard, Devin Booker. Celtics Forward, Jayson Tatum and Suns Forward, Josh Jackson made up for their star players absence. Both rookies were the stars of the night.
Tatum finished the game shooting 10-18 from the field, scoring 23 points, while Jackson shot 9-15 from the field finishing with also 23 points. Last night’s game was a duel between the two rookies. It looked as if these two guys were on a mission to out play each other. Seeing these two rookies compete like this only makes you think that the NBA is in good hands for the future.
Tatum is definitely the future of the NBA. This forward has almost the whole package at such a young age. Tatum can drive the ball, move without the ball, create off the dribble, from mid-range or three and he can spot up from anywhere on the court. Tatum is also a quality defender.
Offensively, Tatum is more of a face to the basket type player most likely because of how the Celtics offense is ran. There aren’t too many post up opportunities in their offense for Tatum. So, Tatum probably is a sound post-up player, however, we don’t see much of it. But posting up and passing are a couple of things Tatum can reveal more in his game.
Tatum, tonight, looked to be searching for his shot more than usual, but it shows when he’s aggressive this is what he’s capable of doing. Coach Brad Stevens has to like what he seen from his rookie tonight. Forward, Marcus Morris (20 pts), Center, Al Horford (19 pts) and point guard, Terry Rozier (16 pts, 7 ast) also played well tonight for the Celtics.
For the Suns other than Josh Jackson playing well, shooting guard, Troy Daniels (18 pts), forward, Marquese Chriss (13 pts), point guard, Tyler Ulis (19 pts) and forward, Dragan Bender also held their own against the Celtics tonight. Bender only managed to score 3 points, but he did a good job on the boards finishing with 10 rebounds on the night.
The Suns have a bright spot in Jackson. Jackson is strictly a slasher. But he’s good at what he does. Jackson can improve on his ball handing and shooting, but he’s still a rookie so that’ll come with time. What’s most impressive is how he’s being effective while being one dimensional. Once he’s able to incorporate more into his offensive game, look out for this rookie in the future.
Despite the 23 points Jackson gave up to Tatum tonight. Jackson is a quality defender. It’s his offensive game that needs more work. As a perimeter player, he’s only shooting 26% from three. That needs to improve, the Suns need him to be a scorer. It’ll only make this team better. The Celtics defeated the Suns, 102-94, but the story of the night was Tatum v.s Jackson.