In the final game of the season, Tatum went out bad.
Just 26 seconds into the game, Tatum hit his left foot in an attacking round, which forced him to endure severe pain and stay on the field, in his own words: "I was like an empty shell on the field, which frustrated me!" ”
So in this game, Tatum hit only 5 of 13 shots and scored 14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. Enduring the pain, Tatum also completed a dunk and a three-pointer.
Compared to the 51-point slash two weeks ago, injuries have left Tatum completely out of the mood.
It is worth mentioning that after scoring these 14 points, Tatum has reached a total of 543 points in the playoffs this year, ranking first among all players in the playoffs this season.
59 points ahead of Butler and 94 points ahead of Jokic. Of course, this was thanks to Tatum playing more matches than the two.
In the individual playoff total ranking, Tatum has scored 2,236 points, ranking 50th all-time. (Note, if you count the data of the ABA era, Tatum ranks 52nd all-time in terms of overall score)
Among all current stars, Tatum ranks 10th, behind James, Durant, Curry, Harden, Thompson, Paul, Leonard, Westless and Butler.
To be in the top 50 in playoff history at this age is obviously a great honor.
What is the concept of 2236 points? Let's look at a set of comparisons.
Rong Ma scored a total of 2111 points (55th all-time);
Two-time regular-season MVP Nash scored 2,072 points (61st all-time);
Anthony, who had the 9th all-time regular season total, scored 1914 points (71st all-time);
Robertson, the original triple-double, scored 1910 points (73rd all-time).
And Tatum, 25, has just finished his sixth season.
If past data is not indicative, compare current stars.
Two-time regular season MVP+ champion Alphabet Brother scored a total of 2105 points (56th all-time);
Another two-time MVP, Jokic, scored a total of 1,718 points (93rd all-time);
Ou Shenxian, who has played in the finals in a row, scored a total of 1724 points (91st in history);
75 superstar Lillard scored a total of 1569 points (111th all-time);
Son of America + 2020 champion Davis scored a total of 1427 points (140th all-time);
New MVP Embiid scored a total of 1271 points (168th all-time);
The stars mentioned above are several years older than Tatum and entered the NBA many years earlier.
And how does Tatum compare to his peers?
Mr. Booker, 70 points, scored a total of 1205 points (181st all-time);
Doncic scored a total of 911 points (268th all-time);
Another petite in the same year, Mitchell, scored a total of 1221 points (177th in history);
New York Mayor Trae Young scored 713 points (344th all-time);
Memphis gun king Morant scored a total of 518 points (482nd all-time)
As for the likes of Fox and Ingram, who have played only one playoff game, there is no need to list.
Championship rush aside, to be able to score so many points in the playoffs requires two conditions.
One is to ensure that you stay in the playoffs and go as far as possible;
The second is to ensure ultra-high attendance.
And these two points are where Tatum is better than many of his peers.
The Green Army, for example, lost Irving and Hayward in the 2017-18 season, and no one is optimistic about how far they can go in the playoffs. Tatum was not a believer in his rookie season, averaging 18.5 points per game to become the team's playoff scoring leader that season, leading the team to a row of Bucks, 76ers, and seven games against James' Cavaliers.
It is worth mentioning that Tatum, in his rookie season, was only one point away from breaking the rookie playoff scoring record held by Abdul-Jabbar.
For example, in the 2020-21 season, with Jaylen Brown season reimbursement, Tatum scored 50 points to lead the team out of the play-offs. Don't think it's easy, in recent seasons, there have been many stars who have fallen in the play-offs, including Curry, DeRozan, Ingram and others.
In the playoffs that season, the Green Army was eliminated by the Nets 1-4 in the first round, which is Tatum's fewest playoff games to date. In the 5 games, apart from G2 leaving the game early with an eye injury, Tatum scored 22 points, 50 points, 40 points and 32 points in the remaining 4 games.
In the past two seasons, Tatum has repeatedly played high-scoring games in the playoffs, such as last year's semifinal G6 against the Bucks 46 points, such as this year's semifinals record 51 points.
Since his rookie season, Tatum has never missed a single playoff game.
His playoff appearances over the past six seasons are: 19, 9, 17, 5, 24, 20, for a total of 94 games.
Although there have been injuries, such as the eye injury mentioned above in the first round of 2021, the shoulder injury last season, and the wrist injury this season, and the sprained ankle in yesterday's tie-for-seven battle.
But Tatum was not in the firing line with a minor injury and has maintained 100% playoff attendance so far. This alone is enough to help him beat many superstars.
So here's the problem.
Tatum was in the top 50 all-time playoff scoring at the age of 25, can he surpass James' record in the future?
Considering that James' career playoff total is a disjointed 8,023 points, this may seem like a distant conjecture.
But this may not be the case.
By comparison, when James was 25, his playoff total was 1,761, 475 fewer than Tatum.
As a result, Tatum surpasses James in future playoff totals, not without this possibility.
However, James' ability to top the playoff scoring championship, in addition to maintaining a high level of attendance like Tatum, is another factor, that is, the aforementioned need to go far enough and play enough.
Starting in the 2010-11 season, James led the team to the Finals for eight consecutive years, which helped him accumulate a large number of appearances. The more you play, the more total points you get.
Starting with the 2010-11 season, James' single-season playoff totals for eight consecutive years were:
497 minutes, 697 minutes, 596 minutes, 548 minutes, 601 minutes, 552 minutes, 590 minutes, 748 minutes.
Therefore, in order to complete the overtake of James, Tatum must not only maintain his excellent qualities, but also ensure that he leads the Green Army to maintain a steady momentum year after year.
During his six-year career, he led the team to at least four Eastern Conference finals (one finals), once in the first round and once in the semifinals.
And don't forget that Tatum has improved every season, and his playoff scoring average has increased from 18.5 in his rookie season to 27.2 points per game this year. Combined with the excellent operation of the Green Army management, as long as Tatum can continue to improve, the Green Army may not necessarily win the championship, but it should not be a problem to remain competitive every year.
Of course, everything mentioned above is based on an ideal assumption that Tatum maintains physical strength while the Green Army is capable of competing for titles for a long time.
If there is a difference in these two points, Tatum's postseason total record will be difficult to achieve.
However, Tatum can set himself small goals.
If he gets another 852 points, he can be in the top 25 of all-time;
If he scored another 1661 points, he could beat Bird to become No. 1 in Celtics history;
If he gets the same score as he does now, he can rank in the top 9 in history;
If you are incredulous about the vision of these assumptions, repeat it again:
Today, Tatum is only 25 years and 88 days, and he is far from his peak.