Consistency makes Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Rookie of the Year candidate

For years, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have ran rough shot through the Eastern Conference Playoffs like Cam Brady ran for the North Carolina senate unopposed.

This time around, they may have some actual competition in the form of the last team to get crushed under their might in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics.

But this year’s Celtics are much different than the previous incarnation. The Celtics turned over a new roster and have beaten the six best teams in the Western Conference (Golden State, Houston, San Antonio, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Denver) as well as five of the six best Eastern Conference teams (Cleveland, Toronto, Miami, Milwaukee and Detroit).

In the absence of Gordon Hayward, rookie Jayson Tatum emerged as a rookie of the year candidate, averaging 14 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. He’s shooting almost 50 percent and 46 percent from three point range as well.

It’s no wonder why Tatum was voted “most likely to succeed” among NBA rookies. Tatum was also the recipient for NBA Rookie of the Month in December for averaging 14.6 PPG and 5.6 RPG.

Tatum is lucky to start his career with a team already built to win and a coach like Brett Stevens to keep him sharp but humble.

“I sent him a text that there’s a lot of things that can derail forward progress,” Stevens said of Tatum. “At the end of the day, though it’s continuing to do all the great things that he’s doing, because he’s consistent, and that’s why he got [the award] because he’s played well and he’s consistent. It’s really hard to be consistent at any age, but certainly at 19-years-old. So there’s a great opportunity to respond to that nice reward.”

Had Tatum started his NBA career last year, he would have easily won Rookie of the Year. This year’s class is a lot better than the previous seasons but Tatum is certainly in the mix.

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About: Tony Capobianco

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A graduate of the University of Arizona (2008-2013), Tony Capobianco covered sports from preps to pros since 2011 from the Tucson Citizen to Miami Herald to most recently with the Enid News & Eagle. The "Cuban Cowboy" took a first pitch to the nuts and lived to laugh at the viral video. Follow him @TonyCapobianco

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