SF Duke Jayson Tatum 6’8” 205 6’11” wingspan
Player Comparison: Morris Twins/Tobias Harris/Carmelo Anthony
Why here: The savior of Phoenix? Tatum shows abilities that could tote a #1 overall selection in other years, so the Suns will gladly snag him at four. Outside of superscorer Devin Booker, the Suns don’t have many commendable pieces moving forward. Management has already mentioned that they will intelligently be going with best player available, but judging who they deem worthy of that title is up for debate. They have also been frequent visitors to trade rumor land, specifically a deal they denied that included Clippers monstar DeAndre Jordan. Another rumor included their affixation with Lonzo, and their attempts to move up to the two position. So whoever they are hoping to select at this slot must be valuable. With Bledsoe still on the roster and Ullis showing promise as a rookie last year, I don’t think they will hunt for Fox at this slot. Tatum provides more scoring and relief for Booker who had to take the majority of the workload last year. They should be able to draw defenses off one another and loosen up the floor. As for the defensive end, they will need to address that elsewhere.
Strengths: Tatum is going to be a scoring machine. He has ROY written all over him if he lands in the correct situation. One of the more polished and less raw talents in the draft, Tatum has a strong size and frame for the SF position. His mid range scoring arsenal is vast, including a variety of step-backs, jab steps, fade-aways, high posts, off balanced jumpers, and head/ball fakes. Shows ability to become elite finisher in traffic. Is creative with his body and arms while in the air. Has clutch gene.
Size allows for vision above most defenders, and has hinted at strong passing mechanics. Fills lanes well in transition… great hands off difficult passes… finishes well on the break. Can play bully ball when properly motivated.
Weaknesses: All aspects of his game other than scoring could use improvement. Despite nailing a good amount while at Duke, his range doesn’t yet extend out to the three-point line. Forces difficult shots… fades away when not necessary… makes his mid range game a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Has great footwork in high post situations but miraculously loses IQ in low post scenarios.
Makes lots of silly passes. Lack of passing ability combined with irrational confidence gene makes him a ball stopper.
Shows good instincts on defensive end but lacks IQ. Movement is slow on D… often rotates late… falls asleep when off ball… bad pick and roll defender.
Outlook: Other than whomever the Knicks draft, Tatum on Phoenix could see the most minutes played by a rookie next year. Tatum will have the opportunity to learn from lots of mistakes and improve aspects of his game that are not yet polished. Hopefully being paired alongside veterans that hope to be coaches in Jared Dudley and others will instill some intensity on the defensive end.
Random Prediction: Throws out the first pitch of a Diamondbacks game. Misses multiple in-game windmill attempts. NBA Most Improved Player 2023.