Tatum had a dominating performance scoring 40 POINTS on 11 of 19 shooting. The most important stat of the night besides the win on the road in Toronto was the fact that he went to the Free Throw Line 13 times. Leading up to this game he was only averaging 2.9 FREE THROW ATTEMPTS which as a primary scorer he needs to do better. He tends to take a lot of tough contested shots as most Number One options will do, but if he’s only doing to the line less than 3 times a game it really puts pressure on is shot making. Using fakes after drives and being physical on drives initiating contact will increase his attempts. He tries to emulate Kobe Bryant in his game and what must be understood is the way Kobe could control the game not only with his shot making but his ability to use fakes and get to the free throw line. What is very noticeable is Tatum’s improved ball handling, which makes him that much tougher to guard. His frame has definitely gotten stronger, which will enable him to take more contact especially when defenders get more physical come playoff time.
Tatum’s offense as you can see is predicated on how his defender is guarding him. He takes a lot of contested shots, especially from deep which is something that is very hard to teach. He’s a fan of the hang dribble side step to create more separation. It’s a little easier for him to get his shot off because of his size and length, but he shoots at a 42.9% Clip from the 3PT line so it makes him that much tougher to guard. With the addition to his ball handling and shot making ability it makes defending him on screen rolls almost impossible. As most of NBA defenses switch the pick and roll it serves as a match up with him and the big defending the screener switched on to him. In this case it was Aron Baynes from Toronto. Baynes is forced to make a decision to you play up on the screen opening up the paint for Tatum to drive or protect the paint enabling him to give up the 3PT shot. It seemed as if every decision he made was wrong as when he played up Tatum drove, and when he played back it gave Tatum enough daylight to make shots. He had some good looks on pull-ups as well as some catch and shoot situations. When you have a size and length advantage as he had on Van Fleet in the film he took advantage of him with the fade away in the post. Great all around offensive night from Tatum.
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