Scouting Report on New Duke Commit Jayson Tatum


This afternoon 2016 SF Jayson Tatum, the number 2 overall player in the ESPN 100, pledged to the Duke Blue Devils. Tatum becomes the first commit in the 2016 class for the Blue Devils. He is a special talent especially on the offensive side of the ball. Not only is Tatum now a cornerstone of Duke’s class but with his pledge it becomes even more likely that Harry Giles, the number 1 overall player in the ESPN 100, commits to Duke as they are best friends and were roommates when they played on Team USA during the U-19 World Championships. 

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But back to Tatum and his advanced offensive game. He has ideal size for a wing player not only in college but in the NBA as well. He is 6’8 at around 200 pounds and has the frame to put on additional weight. His smoothness on the court is reminiscent of George Gervin, the Iceman, who was famous for his buttery smooth finger rolls.

Tatum can handle the ball extremely well as he is fluid and mobile for a player at his size. The best parts of his game come from 12-15 feet away where he shoots mid-range jumpers at an outstanding clip. At first glance he is not the most explosive athlete but when he gets near the rim that story changes. A glimpse of that came here during his time on Team USA.

The only parts of Tatum’s offensive game that really must be improved are his three-point shooting and his strength. While Tatum has a nice stroke from mid-range, he rarely ever shoots 3s. He can make the shot somewhat consistently but it will be something he needs to work on. If Tatum can add 10-15 pounds of muscle, his percentage at finishing around the rim will sky-rocket.

Moving to the other side of the ball, Tatum has the potential to be a disruptive presence because of his long arms. He anticipates passing lanes exceptionally well and has a knack for blocking his opposition’s shots. Again, another 10-15 pounds of muscle will make him a terror to play against because of his high skill level.

NBA Comparison: George Gervin/Shaun Livingston/Wesley Johnson

I know I just gave you three players but Tatum really is unique in his abilities. Tatum himself even said that he compares to Shaun Livingston and I am in no position to argue with him. Livingston, before his injury played like Tatum with his proficient mid-range game as well as explosiveness around the rim. The smoothness and overall fluidity of his game reminds me of George Gervin and his body type is comparable to Wesley Johnson.

At this stage, Tatum should be able to come to Duke and immediately put up points at an efficient rate. His mid-range game is second to none, he knocks down his free throws and he can finish explosively at the rim. Unfortunately, we have to wait a whole year before we get to see him in a Blue Devils’ uniform.