Jayson Tatum turned a lot of heads in his rookie season with the Boston Celtics and has an extremely bright future ahead of him.
The 20-year-old had a major impact on the C's in his debut year as they reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
They lost Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury in the opening game of the campaign and also went into the playoffs without Kyrie Irving as he underwent knee surgery.
But in both the regular season and the playoffs, Tatum stepped up and took on a bigger role when it was required.
Not afraid of the limelight
He was supposed to ease into life in the NBA playing alongside the two All-Stars but he had to take on more responsibility than he thought and thrived.
After averaging 13.9 points over 80 games in the regular campaign, he increased this to 18.5 in the postseason as he led the Celtics in scoring.
The small forward finished third in the voting for Rookie of the Year but it's scary to think how much better he can become.
He looks destined to become a perennial All-Star in the years to come but his former teammate Shane Larkin believes he can achieve more.
The point guard was a member of the Boston team last year and has seen enough from the youngster to declare that he can rival the top players in the NBA.
“Defensively, he’s very smart. He’s always in the right place, and he’s still going to continue to get better and grow and get smarter, Larkin said, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.
"… And I think with the skill set he already has, he can easily be one of the top five players in the league if he continues to work and lock in and really devote himself to the game.
"So I’m really excited to see where he goes.”
It's hard to disagree with Larkin based on what we've seen from Tatum in just one year.
He's a force on both ends of the floor and that ability to impact the game as a two-way player will make him elite very soon.
The Duke product is such a huge talent and he's nowhere near his prime yet.
There's still a lot he has to do to be considered among the best in the league but he has the mentality and ability to reach greatness.
He's part of a terrific Celtics core that will surely win a championship in the next five years and there's no doubt that he'll play a major part in making it happen.
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