why is jayson tatum struggling?
The Celtics are 13 games into the season, and Jayson Tatum has been underperforming with little signs of improvement. Tatum’s scoring is down 2.9 PPG from last season and is shooting a career low 38% from the field. But what is the cause of Tatum’s “slump”? Will it be temporary? Or will there be a downward spiral from here?
With the NBA coming off a one and a half season stretch without fans filling up the stadium, the return of crowds can be different for both players and coaches. Jayson Tatum described the no fan experience stating “They were some people on the other teams…I’m like ‘Hold on, they don’t normally play like that.'” Coming back to playing in front of sold out arenas can reinstate that pressure that players are not used to experiencing.
Is He Tired?
When the Celtics transitioned to a new coaching staff with Ime Udoka leading the charge, fans were more than excited for the change. Ime was (and still is) seen as a perfect fit for the Celtics, with the goal of improving Boston’s ball movement. Thus far into the season fans have noticed an unusually small substitution rotation. The limited amount of bench depth Udoka is allowing, causes a vast amount of minutes to fall on Jayson Tatum and the starters. The lack of bench depth has caused Tatum to play a career high 37.4 minutes per game, likely having an effect on Tatum’s health both mentally and physically.
the New Basketball
Going into the 2021-2022 season, the NBA decided to make the switch from the iconic Spalding basketball to Wilson balls. This was the first time the NBA has ever switched the brand of their basketballs, and a league wide shooting decrease came as a result. The league average shooting percentage this season is sitting at 44.8%, the lowest since the 2004-2005 season. This statistic is better shown with the league wide three point percentage sitting at 34.5% the lowest since the 1989-1999 season. Paul George described this change saying “It’s a different basketball. It don’t have the same touch and softness that the Spalding ball had.” Clearly the league is struggling with shooting whether it’s the ball’s fault or not, and Tatum isn’t alone in this scoring dip.
The New Foul Rules
One of if not the most popular belief on why Tatum isn’t scoring as easily as he should is the new foul rules. Last season, fans complained about the high amount of foul calls, and how easily players could draw them. Fortunately for the fans, during the offseason the league implemented new rules on how players could draw fouls. As a result, players have been struggling to get to the charity stripe. While most fans agree the new rules were a good change, many players are yet to adjust to this properly, especially players who scored large margins of their points off free throws. The NBA’s lower field goal percentage is likely because of athletes trying to draw fouls and not getting the same calls they got in the past. Much like other all star’s, Tatum has been known to try to draw such fouls, but this season he is having different results on the box score.
Is this just temporary?
A large portion NBA players including Jayson Tatum have struggled to start off this season. The leagues recent changes hold a likely reasoning on why, and it will take players a substantial amount of time to adjust to these changes. But if we know anything from the past, Tatum will work to move on from these obstacles as soon as possible, and right now all fans can do is hope.
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