BOSTON - Last week, we wrote about how Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was becoming an NBA superstar right in front of our eyes. As it turns out, I did not write this a moment too soon because Tatum was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February 2020. It seems like the coronation is here from every angle in the league, including The Ringer, which just released a major profile of the Celtics star, who turned twenty-two years old yesterday.
In his third year in the league, Tatum has now received his first-ever Player of the Month title. Granted, it was for the month in which All-Star Weekend was held, but hey, Tatum was an All-Star, too. And I reckon that he still would have put up monster numbers if the team had played during that week they had off from the game. Tatum is here on the big stage and everyone has to take notice. What he did on the court in February is scary for the rest of the league, as he has single-handedly made Boston one of the upper echelon title contenders.
Tatum led the Celtics to a 9-3 record in February, even without Kemba Walker running the point for many of the games. He averaged an astonishing 30.7 points per game, which contributed to a slew of milestones for a player of his age and caliber. He also added 7.9 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists, and 4.3 three-pointers. Impressively, he averaged 49.4 percent from the field during February, but this was an afterthought compared to the whopping 48.1 three-point percentage.
Tatum also began to buck the biggest knock against him by shooting free throws at a clip of 7.6 times per game. It was the one element of his offensive game that needed improvement and now he is earning extra shots for himself.
On top of it all, Tatum was a defensive monster in February. He took on any challenge that came his way, including a determined LeBron James in that storied game against the Lakers. But Tatum kept his defensive game clean and efficient, en route to just 2.1 fouls per game to go with 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals.
Tatum was the league's best player in February for sure, but it's also worth noting the other honorees. LeBron James was the Western Conference Player of the Month, New Orleans' Zion Williamson and Chicago's Coby White were the Rookies of the Month, and Milwaukee's Mike Budenholzer and Houston's Mike D'Antoni were the Coaches of the Month.
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