We're 15 games into a season where our team has an entirely new dynamic.....and yet people want to make snap decisions concerning extremely talented players.
We don't want to become the OKC Thunder.
It is the opposite.
The most difficult thing for a fan to accept is a team with two many potential good players.
One ball syndrome,
I know our fans love these guys, especially as they were drafted here, but Tatum's quick rise along with Hayward's signing has made it clear that while all these guys can co-exist and win (we know they can win together), they all wont be able to stay here, both for money reasons, for ego reasons ( wanting to be something more valuable to a team) , and also not wanting to be a 3rd, 4th fiddle....
That doesnt even include ainge licking his chops at all the value he has right now.
ITs a sad truth of the sport. Something that in prior teams and years when i was younger i always denied.....i always told myself these guys will always stick together. Not the case.
History says you are absolutely correct. Quite frankly, I can't disagree. However, here is some food for thought:
- Tatum would be averaging 19.3 PPG if his shooting efficiency was equivalent to last season. I think he can create enough good looks in this offense to match his rookie efficiency on higher volume. Long term he should have no issues averaging 20+ PPG without completely dominating touches on offense.
- Jaylen would be right at his 14.5 PPG from last season if he matched last seasons efficiency.
There are two crucial questions in regards to keeping this core together long term. Will they be become an elite scoring team in both volume and efficiency? On paper they have the potential to be closer to a 115+ PPG in the modern NBA. There's no way they stay together if this doesn't happen.
The other question is will Kyrie give Tatum and Jaylen the opportunity to thrive as they begin to enter their prime years? I'm starting to believe that Kyrie would sacrifice personal statistics if it means being part of an extended championship window. At the end of the day he will never lose his role as an elite closer, but I could absolutely envision him allowing the young guys to carry the load throughout the duration of a long regular season. For example, would Kyrie live with 18 PPG at career high levels of efficiency? As for Hayward, I think he could settle into a 17-18 PPG, 5 RPG, and 5 APG role, as long as the team is winning. He already earned his big payday.
Obviously we don't know the answers to these questions, but the optimist in me hopes that Ainge and Steven's can make something like this work.