(First posted at RealGM)
Tatum started the season injured and was a bit underwhelming in his first couple of months back, as a part of a Duke team that lost four of its first seven ACC games. But as Duke righted the ship, subsequently going on a seven-game winning streak and finishing the season with 11 wins in 18 conference games, Tatum went back to looking like a top five pick.
The six-foot-eight combo forward is a classic matchup nightmare in this era of basketball, when players his size are more comfortably used as “big men” in four-out lineups.
Tatum is very skilled for someone his age and can take opposing wings into the post or use his strength to create separation and launch mid-range jumpers in isolation, which he nailed at a 40% clip this season.
If guarded by a prototypical big, Tatum can spot up from beyond the arc or handle the ball in pick-and-roll, though these are two things he hasn’t shown to be legit strengths of his this season, despite the fact he did them reasonably well in high school, as he hit just a third of his three-point shots and wasn’t put in the two-man game a whole lot by Duke.
As a defender, Tatum has been a pleasant surprise, as he’s flashed the ability to bend his knees to get low in a stance and stay in front of smaller players, aside from showing decent feel for making plays in the passing lane and making himself a presence near the basket in help defense, as he’s averaged 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara