Potential Wolves draft pick profile: Jayson Tatum

June 15, 2017

Leading up to the NBA Draft, FOX Sports North will take a look at some options for the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 7 overall pick. We continue the series with Duke forward Jayson Tatum.

Previously: Jonathan Isaac | Malik Monk | Lauri Markkanen| Dennis Smith Jr.

FRAME: 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, 7-0 wingspan

POSITION: Small forward

2016-17 STATISTICAL AVERAGES: 33.3 minutes, 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.1 blocks, .452 FG%, .342 3P%, .849 FT%

TROPHY CASE: Named third-team All-ACC and to the ACC All-Freshman team. … won ACC Rookie of the Week award three times. …Voted first-team All-ACC Tournament. … He’s a three-time gold medalist for Team USA (2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship). … Also was named 2016 Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior in high school.

TALE OF THE TAPE: After missing the first eight games of Duke’s season with an ankle injury, Tatum quickly emerged into the Blue Devils’ second-best scoring threat with 16.8 points per game -- just behind sophomore guard Luke Kennard (19.5 PPG). He scored in double digits in his first 12 collegiate games, but Tatum burst into the national spotlight in Duke’s 86-78 win over archrival North Carolina on Feb. 9. He went into halftime with 0 points after shooting 0 for 3, but Tatum exploded in the second half for 19 points and finished with nine rebounds to secure the win for the Blue Devils. Tatum had his moments from downtown, too -- he scored a career-high 28 points off 6-of-7 3-point shooting in a low-scoring, 65-55 win over Virginia on Feb. 15.

GET TO KNOW HIM: Tatum broke the career scoring record at Chaminade Prep School, formerly held by Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Despite Tatum breaking his record, the two St. Louis, Mo., natives have a solid relationship – Beal insists Tatum should be the No. 1 overall pick and Tatum seems to retweet every Beal highlight reel there is. Back in 2015, Beal showed up at one of Tatum’s EYBL games in high school and inspired his team with a halftime speech after a sluggish start.


Tatum gets his athletic ability from his father, Justin, who played basketball at Saint Louis University and professionally for a few seasons overseas.

WHY IT WORKS: You can’t argue with his body of work in 29 collegiate games. Tatum can score from anywhere the floor, and he would add much-needed depth behind Andrew Wiggins at the 3 -- especially if restricted free-agent Shabazz Muhammad leaves in the offseason. He doesn’t have too many red flags that would point to becoming a bust. Tatum has the size and talent to become a productive NBA player, and he’s proven to easily adapt to any level of play. Furthermore, he wears No. 0. There’s not a cooler basketball number.

WHY IT DOESN’T: That being said, Tatum is known more for his ability to score rather than his defense, which might not align with Tom Thibodeau’s scheme for the future. Remember, Thibodeau selected defensive-minded guard Kris Dunn last year. Plus, he might not make it to the Wolves at the 7th overall pick unless they trade up -- he’s often projected to be a top-5 selection. But worst of all, Tatum is a St. Louis Blues fan. Yikes.


Silky smooth.


His 28 points in a win over Virginia:


Speaking of Virginia, there was another Duke freshman who lit up the Cavaliers (hint, he now plays for the Wolves):


Remember that big second-half performance against North Carolina we were talking about?


Two minutes of fun:


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