Why 2024 NBA Finals will define Jayson Tatum’s career

    The Boston Celtics have advanced to the 2024 NBA Finals and seem primed to win the 18th championship in its illustrious history. But for Jayson Tatum, the series means a lot more.

    Tatum has always appeared on the cusp of true superstardom. His stats indicate that he should already be there solely based on overall performance. The former Duke Blue Devil averages 23.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. This past regular season, Tatum averaged 26.9 points and 8.1 rebounds while being the main piece for the C’s.

    But Tatum has been missing something this postseason — that clutch moment where he hits a game-winning shot. For all he has done in games, Tatum was 1-for-9 in the final 30 seconds of one-possession games this regular season. Those clutch struggles have continued as Jaylen Brown has had more of those moments than Tatum, and Brown even won the Eastern Conference Finals Most Valuable Player Award.

    So, the 2024 NBA Finals will be a proving ground for Tatum. It is a chance for him to gain his biggest career accolade. Tatum has the signature shoe deal and is a five-time All-Star and a four-time All-NBA player, but he is still searching for his first NBA championship.

    Winning a championship will allow Tatum to ascend into an elite category of active players. He will be in the conversation as one of the best players in the entire league and an MVP award could be added to his impressive resume in the following seasons. 

    But Tatum can also ditch the label that he isn’t a clutch performer. The 2024 NBA Finals provide the perfect platform for the 26-year-old to hit a game-winning shot or have his clutch moment. He just needs to answer the call.

    Because if the Celtics fail to win a championship, the pressure will only increase for Tatum. Fans will wonder if he can ever bring another banner to Boston.

    No matter the result, Tatum’s career will be defined. Will he be remembered as one of the greats in Celtics history, or will he be known for failing to perform when it matters most? 

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