Jayson Tatum poised for a big sophomore campaign with Celtics

CANTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jayson Tatum #0 looks on during Boston Celtics Media Day on September 24, 2018 in Canton, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
CANTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jayson Tatum #0 looks on during Boston Celtics Media Day on September 24, 2018 in Canton, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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After an outstanding rookie season, Jayson Tatum will be even better in his second year in the NBA.

Fans of the Boston Celtics knew that Duke product Jayson Tatum was going to be a special player in the NBA when Danny Ainge targeted him in the 2017 draft, selecting him with the third overall pick.

Tatum showed signs of superstardom as a rookie, embracing a spot in Boston’s starting lineup as well as increased playing time due to Gordon Hayward’s ankle injury.

He averaged 13.9 points and five rebounds throughout the regular season, but upped that to over 18 points per game in the playoffs as he helped lead the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

With the 2018-19 season just weeks away from tipping off, Tatum has now had an entire offseason push his game to the next level. He’s gotten much stronger in the past three months, both physically and mentally.

At just 20 years old, Tatum is ready to have a big sophomore campaign in the NBA, and could possibly help take the Celtics to the NBA Finals.

“He’s playing with more confidence,” Ainge said, via NESN.com. “He’s always had confidence for a young kid. But now, he doesn’t look like a young kid anymore. He looks like a veteran player.”

Though the Celtics would’ve loved to have Hayward playing last season, there’s no doubt that Tatum grew tremendously as a player thanks to all of the extra playing time he received. Even as a rookie, he almost led the Celtics past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.

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In his second year, Tatum is going to be even better. He’s been working on his long range shooting during the offseason, while also bulking up in the gym. He’s going to be much more conditioned to an 82-game regular season, as well as what could possibly be a deep run into June.

Tatum might not be ready to have an MVP-like season just yet, but he’s going to be a lot closer this year.