BOSTON (CBS) — Happy Birthday, Jayson Tatum. The Celtics superstar in the making turns 22 on Tuesday.
That doesn’t fit the “He’s only 19!” narrative that has followed Tatum since he broke out during his rookie year, but Celtics fans will manage. And given the way he’s played in his third NBA season, Tatum is quickly earning new nicknames from around the league.READ MORE: Runner Who Suffered Heart Attack During Boston Marathon Hopes To Come Back Stronger
LeBron James famously tabbed Tatum as “an absolute problem” after the Boston forward dropped 41 points in a loss against the Lakers in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, with many fans adopting “The Problem” as Tatum’s new nickname. It’s a fitting moniker, as Tatum absolutely torched the NBA over the last month.READ MORE: Record Fall Warmth: An Unprecedented Autumn In New England
Tatum dominated the NBA in February, averaging 30.7 points while shooting 49 percent from the floor to go with eight rebounds per game. While his offense has been explosive, he’s also playing some stellar defense, helping Boston to a 9-3 record last month. He’ll likely be celebrating an Eastern Conference Player of the Month win on Tuesday, in addition to blowing out candles on his birthday cake. The celebration may be a bit tempered though, as Tatum is questionable for Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets with an undisclosed illness.
While February was an other-worldly month for Tatum, he’s been playing spectacular ball all season. He leads Boston at 23.5 points per game for the year, hitting 45 percent of his attempts from the floor and 40 percent from three-point range on seven attempts per game. He’s spoken about how much more comfortable he is on the floor this year compared to last season, and it shows with everything he does. His rise to superstardom earned him his first All-Star nod, and has the Celtics back in the conversation as a title contender this season. Boston currently sits as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, ranking sixth overall in offensive rating (112.6) and fourth overall in defensive rating (105.9). Tatum himself has a 103.2 defensive rating and a career-best 10.2 net rating for the season.
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— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) March 2, 2020
Tatum has accomplished quite a bit before his 22nd birthday, and he’s only getting better.