Sixers Draft Prospect: Jayson Tatum

GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 19: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles against Chris Silva #30 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first half during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 19, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The ping pong balls have settled and the pick has swapped. Hinkie died for us to get the 3rd overall pick and his banner raised in an overpriced walking sponsor for hipster beer and bull riding. We’ll take a look at the potential prospects the Sixers have their eye on (sans Lonzo and Fultz) and rank their strengths and weaknesses. First up: Jayson Tatum.

Who is he?

Tatum was a five star recruit in high school and played in the basketball hot bed (kidding) of St. Louis, Missouri. He averaged 29.6 ppg and was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year. He committed to Duke as the number 3 overall recruit–behind Harry Giles and Josh Jackson– where he made a name for himself as a freshman. He averaged 16.8 ppg, 7.3 rebounds, shot 45% from the field, and 34% from three.

The Case For Him:

Tatum is a wiry 6’8 Small Forward that can get to the rim. His ball handling is good enough to create his own shot, which is important in the NBA. He has a smart basketball IQ and is an above average defensive player. He uses his wiry frame to get up and block shots and create turnovers. His natural shooting motion possesses the ability to turn into an above average shooter from deep.

How does Jayson Tatum fit into the Sixers’ current situation? Tatum would fit well into the current Sixers rotation. They are weak at the 3 position and Tatum would be a valuable asset to the wing along with Simmons and Robert Covington.

His highest praise: This tweet comparing Paul George’s Sophomore year stats at Fresno State to Jayson Tatum’s freshman year stats at Duke. Click to enhance.

The Case Against Him:

Jayson Tatum flashed a post and mid-post game in high-school that has not translated well to the college level. He is bothered by lengthy defenders and tries to fade away or shoot a floater when they don’t bite on his head fake. Draft Express has a video of all of Tatum’s weaknesses here.

Though he can get to the basket off the dribble, video shows his lack of foot speed that would translate to the NBA, where there are quicker and faster defenders taller than him. The athleticism he shows defensively may also be a product of more weaker competition.

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Overall Jayson Tatum would benefit from a team that has two options and wouldn’t have to rely on him doing the bulk of the scoring. You are probably thinking to yourself, “Hmm, that sounds like the Sixers with Simmons and Embiid.” Though he would be a great compliment to the wing with Saric, Simmons, and Covington, the fact he plays high when dribbling and struggles against lengthy defenders (the norm in the NBA), taking Tatum at number 3 overall would be a reach.