Quick, stop what you're doing right this second and spot the lie being told from Stephen A in that clip?
Finally, a totally subjective and irrelevant NBA offseason debate that I can finally care about. Feels good to be back, to be honest. The Steph/Magic point guard debate didn't really do it, the Pierce/Wade stuff was fun for a second but we've done that dance a few times before so it wasn't exactly new. But I feel like it's been a while since we've had a Luka/Tatum death match on the internet soz I'd like to thank Stephen A for that.
As expected, you know how this plays out. Luka stans flock to the timeline to slander Tatum, Tatum stans flock to the timeline to slander Luka, none of it matters and we move on to the next topic in a matter of days. But again I ask, where was Stephen A's lie?
Jayson Tatum is 6'9? Yup
Jayson Tatum shoots the 3? Sure does.
Jayson dropped 46 in a closeout Game 6 on the road? Hell yeah he did and it was awesome
Jayson Tatum handled his business in a Game 7? True, but I would go a step further Stephen. Jayson Tatum had the highest scoring Game 7 in NBA history
Jayson Tatum has 4 ECF and 1 Finals appearance before turning 27? Also true.
Jayson Tatum is in shape from Day 1? He sure is. Not only that, but you basically have to cut his leg off to get him to miss a game.
Look, there's a reason Stephen A gets paid the big bucks, the man knows how to debate. I dare anyone to even attempt to discredit any of these reasons/facts presented. You simply cannot.
Now, I will be fair here. When it comes to Game 7s, Luka hasn't been a slouch either. Granted he's only played in 2 so far in his career (1-1), but he is averaging 40.5/9.0/8.5 on 59/50% splits. That's not too shabby. But here's what I also know. In the Luka Era, the Mavs have advanced out of the 1st round only once. They finished 6 games under .500 last season and missed the Play In Tournament completely. Maybe you think this is all teammate-related, but that's a cop-out excuse in my opinion. It's not as if Luka has played with nothing but scrubs, again, he just missed the playoffs with Kyrie Irving on his team.
I will say this though. Jayson Tatum does seem to get a whole lot more public slander for what he's done, while Luka mainly skirts by scott free. Can you imagine if a Tatum/Kyrie led team missed the playoffs? How different would the narrative be around Tatum if his postseason career was filled with two 1st round exits and an ECF loss? The guy gets dragged daily and he's been arguably one of the most successful under 25 players in the entire league. It's almost as if it's worse to go deep in the playoffs and lose than never go deep at all. At some point, if Luka is going to be talked about as a Basketball God, he has to start putting together deep playoff runs/actually contending.
Jayson Tatum has been doing that shit since his very first NBA season, even when he lost two max players to injury.
There are certain things that Tatum will never do as well as Luka. He'll never have his court vision and passing creativity. I'd say Luka is better at using his size and strength to get into the paint and finish, maybe with a floater or something. You don't put up the numbers Luka does on a nightly basis without being one of the best players in the world. But when you also factor in the defense? That end of the floor is nowhere close.
So at the end of the day, this debate is a matter of preference. There's really no wrong answer, unless you chose Luka. Is that my own personal bias talking? Sure as shit yeah it is. Should I be worried that I support a take given by Stephen A Smith? In most cases, I would also say yes, but not this. Finally, Stephen A is out here making sense and not giving a hot take just to go viral.
The guy clearly knows ball and this just proves it.