The Boston Celtics shocked the basketball world over the summer with a mega-trade that included exchanging star PG Isaiah Thomas for the services of Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The initial trade was delayed due to health concerns involving Thomas but was finally completed with the addition of an extra 2nd round pick for the Cavaliers in the 2020 NBA draft. The addition of Irving immediately vaults the Celtics as one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals and will have a significant impact on Jayson Tatum, the rookie from the University of Duke that was drafted with the #3 overall pick. Here are a few reasons why Jayson Tatum is a top contender for the NBA Rookie of the Year with the addition of Kyrie Irving from the Cavaliers.
#1 Added Star Power
The vast majority of teams that have the #3 selection in the NBA draft are rebuilding with young talent that is void of any superstars. The Boston Celtics are on the opposite end of the spectrum, as they are loaded with former and current All-Stars that include Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, and the newly acquired Kyrie Irving. Opposing teams will have a hard time containing each star, which will ultimately create a great opportunity for Tatum to have a significant impact in his rookie season. Tatum played excellent in the Summer League, and he will look to continue that hot start in the upcoming NBA season. The Celtics have yet determined if Tatum will be in the starting lineup or come off the bench, but he is expected to receive significant minutes as the NBA season progresses along.
#2 Top Contender In The East
The addition of Irving is an upgrade over Isaiah Thomas and will enable the Celtics to have a legitimate shot at winning the Eastern Conference. One of the benefits of being a top contender is the added exposure, which will enable Tatum to showcase his skills to the NBA world on the brightest stage. The Celtics will appear regularly on national broadcasts which will help Tatum get the attention he deserves and increases his chances of being the first Celtic since Larry Bird to win the NBA rookie of the year award.
#3 Prolific Scorer
Jayson Tatum entered the NBA Draft as one of the most talented scorers and isolation players in the whole class by a wide margin. Tatum will have ample opportunities to showcase his abilities with Irving leading the team at the point guard position. Tatum averaged 16.8 points per game during his lone season at Duke with a 45.2 FG%. He also averaged over seven rebounds per game and will look to continue that trend in the upcoming season. Tatum will be competing with Marcus Morris for additional minutes and may need to play out of position to gain extra court time on a team that is loaded with talent in all areas.
The upcoming NBA season is filled with high expectations for the Boston Celtics as they look to overtake the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. Tatum is expected to become a major contributor to a Celtics team that is filled with All-star talent and contend with other top rookies to become the best in the league. He will have stiff competition with other rookies in a talented class that includes Ben Simmons, Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith Jr. and Josh Jackson. Only time will tell if the addition of Irving can enable the Celtics to rise above the rest of the competition and help Tatum become the next great superstar. The NBA season is less than a month away as teams begin training camp as they prepare for the upcoming season. Which free agent signings and trade will have a huge impact on the next season? Who will be the top rookie? Which team will overthrow the Warriors if any? All of these questions and more will be answered as we begin yet another exciting NBA season.