It’s worth mentioning that Tatum’s one year of college ball was spent on a team with a ton of individual offensive talent and no point guard. There’s a reason that team never fully clicked even on the offensive side, but was fantastic in spurts. If he was playing with Roger Mason last year rather than Grayson Allen/Frank Jackson/Luke Kennard/Tatum being shoehorned into the not-really-a-PG position, he would’ve seemed less stagnant offensively and certainly had a couple more easy buckets a game.
He also rebounded quite well last season, averaging just 0.8 fewer rebounds per 36 than Jackson, and his stroke isn’t being given enough credit. He was absolute nails from the line (and got there consistently), streaky from the outside, and could always get off mid-range shots that were good looks for a guy like him.
You can be critical of his shooting against FSU, but he also scored 21 points at FSU and kept Duke in the game for 30-plus minutes. And he played well against some tough competition: 22 against Florida at MSG, 19 and 14 at ND, 19 vs. UNC, 28 of Duke’s 65 at UVA, 22 ppg in leading Duke to four wins in as many days at the ACCT. I get the argument against him: he’s a one-trick pony whose one trick may not be good enough at the NBA level. However, he’s a high floor guy whose scoring ability translates to the next level and who had a damn good freshman season in spite of featuring in an uncharacteristically clunky Duke offense and missing all eight November games with an injury. He showed A LOT more than he’s getting credit for from the “#9 pick” crowd. He showed unique/advanced one-on-one scoring ability and the ability to put points on the board when he’s not hitting jumpers or from the outside. He’s the type of guy who will find a way to get points on the board when your offense is misfiring.