After his team started a mediocre 25-25, Tatum helped it get hot down the stretch, as he averaged 30.2 points on 50.4 percent overall shooting and 41.5 percent from 3-point range over his last 23 games.
He continued his strong play in the early rounds of the playoffs, putting up 27.0 points a game on 44.6 percent overall shooting and 37.5 percent from downtown through the end of the Eastern Conference Finals.
But in the NBA Finals versus the Golden State Warriors, Tatum disappeared when the Celtics needed him most.
He only managed 21.5 points a contest while shooting a terrible 36.7 percent from the field in Boston’s six-game loss.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, Tatum disclosed that he was playing with a fractured wrist all through the postseason.
"I played with somewhat of a fracture for two months" 🤯
Jayson Tatum opens up about playing through an undisclosed injury during the playoffs in live interview with Taylor Rooks in B/R app pic.twitter.com/kt7xZCV36W
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 21, 2022
He Has No Excuses
The conventional wisdom is that if someone is playing on an injury and isn’t under any type of a minutes restriction, that injury cannot be used as an excuse for poor play.
Tatum said he first suffered the injury in February before the All-Star Game, and although he was planning on getting it examined during the All-Star break, he changed his mind because he didn’t want to miss any time.
Just before the playoffs started, he got the injury looked at, and he realized that although his wrist had healed somewhat, it had been fractured.
Even though Tatum admitted he was in pain for most of the rest of the season, he was playing very well, to the point of getting major kudos from pundits around the league.
When Boston was facing elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals versus the defending world champion Milwaukee Bucks, he exploded for 46 points and went 7-of-15 from downtown to give it a 13-point win.
Never forget Jayson Tatum’s Game 6 masterpiece vs the Bucks, down 3-2 and facing elimination! 🔥✨ pic.twitter.com/6EvWNU3uJC
— TatumMuse (@TatumMuse0) August 19, 2022
No one can rightfully blame Tatum’s wrist injury for his poor play in the championship series, given how magnificent he was for many weeks prior.
Tatum Still Has Some Growth To Do To Become A True Superstar
Tatum is a very talented and skilled player, and he is one of the best in the game at hitting tough, contested shots to bail out his team at the end of the shot clock.
But his disappointing performance in the Finals a couple of months ago proved he isn’t quite ready to carry a team to a world championship.
The true definition of a superstar in team sports is someone who can be or is the best player on a championship team, which means that player must put his team on his back, at least for stretches, and carry it to the promised land.
Tatum still hasn’t showed that he can string together several great performances in a row, something that true superstars do, especially come playoff time.
The truly great players also can get hot for a few weeks, or even longer, and Tatum hasn’t really done so yet.