The first round of the 2020 playoffs has not disappointed, and right out the gate certain young stars are answering the call to franchise player status. It just so happens, these players all entered the league together in the 2017 draft class. Now, 3 years on, they’re on the cusp of stardom and cementing the expectations placed on them as being the future of their franchise.
Tatum has dropped over 30 points both Game 1 & 2, and got lead the Celtics the W in both. He and the young Celtics squad have some playoff experience, exceeding expectations a couple years back with Kyrie Irving out, giving the Lebron-led Cavaliers a run for their money in the conference finals. The young Celtics squad operate by committee in a polished Brad Stevens system, but Tatum has taken on the alpha role on offense, which is what the Celtics had envisioned one day from their 3rd pick. Now, With Hayward out a month with a sprained ankle, Tatum will be expected to shoulder even more of the scoring load. Tatum trained with and admired Kobe, and now he has the chance to showcase Mamba Mentality for a deep playoff run!
Spida Mitchell bounced back from the loss in game 1 against the Nuggets despite herculean performance (57, 9 rebounds, 7 assists), and dropped 30 points in game 2, tying the series up. Utah has the same long term expectations for their star as the Celtics do for Tatum – superstardom and franchise player. The Jazz will need Mitchell to maintain this level of performance for them to succeed – they go as far as Mitchell can take them. There’s nobody else Jazz has who they can give the ball to down the stretch and say, “go get us buckets”. So far, Spida has risen to the occasion!
The young big man out of Kentucky has had himself a helluva season, and Bam brought that level to game 1, with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 dimes. He may not be the alpha of the team, that title resides with Jimmy Butler, but Bam is most definitely the star “Robin”, and the future of the Heat franchise. He’s a perfect duo partner to the rough rider ways of Butler, and a matchup nightmare for any team. This postseason experience will do wonders for Bam’s development toward franchise player status, and he’s a big reason why the Heat are one of the most exciting teams to watch!
Shout-out to fellow 2017 draftees currently balling out: Markelle Fultz, OG Anunoby ! (Kuzma needs to step it up!)