Duke basketball product sees unfortunate pause to stellar season

Duke basketball alum Jayson Tatum (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Duke basketball alum Jayson Tatum (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Arguably the top Duke basketball great currently in the NBA is out for now.

Former Duke basketball one-and-done and fourth-year Boston Celtics sensation Jayson Tatum will likely not be in action for 10-14 days from Friday after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19. First and foremost, although the 22-year-old remains asymptomatic, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Now, considering the Celtics (7-3) play seven times across the next two weeks, starting with a home matchup against the Miami Heat (4-4) at 7 p.m. Sunday, the absence could equate to Tatum missing roughly 10 percent of his team’s 72-game slate this regular season. And that might ding the silky forward’s chances at reaching his second consecutive All-Star Game — though not likely.

After going No. 3 overall at the 2017 NBA Draft, following an All-ACC Third Team performance as a freshman at Duke, Tatum didn’t disappoint as a rookie. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound versatile weapon averaged 13.6 points and 5.0 rebounds while helping Boston reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where the franchise would return last season.

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Speaking of the St. Louis native’s last go-round, Tatum took a giant leap in his progression by averaging 23.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in the regular season while missing only four of his squad’s outings.

A hot start to 2020-21 for the 2016-17 Duke basketball star

This season, Jayson Tatum has stepped up his game yet another notch. Entering his required quarantine, he’s averaging 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 88.9 percent from the charity stripe.

With all those top-shelf numbers, Tatum has at least put himself on the bubble of the early MVP conversation.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on Jayson Tatum plus other Duke basketball news and views.