Celtics Jayson Tatum Looks To Kobe Bryant To Improve
The last time the basketball world caught a glimpse of Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics rookie dropped 24 points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, he has turned to a familiar No. 24 to unleash hell on an Eastern Conference devoid of LeBron.
ESPN’s Chris Forsberg took to Twitter to provide a few quotes from a recent interview, including this gem:
Tatum gushed about work out with Kobe. Biggest takeaway? "Maybe a few things he showed me, post moves. But just interacting with him and being able to talk and ask him questions and trying to get into his mind and understand how he thought the game, what he did to be successful."
— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) August 18, 2018
Tatum showcased his ability as a natural scorer last season, averaging 13.9 points per game while surprising with stunning accuracy from deep, shooting 43.4 percent on three-pointers. His defense was also better than advertised, helping the Celtics to an NBA-best 101.5 Defensive Rating.
Though he wasn’t in the conversation for Rookie of the Year with Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell, his importance to a superior team cannot be understated. His ability to create shots within Boston’s egalitarian motion offense helped to keep the Celtics afloat after they lost Gordon Hayward at the start of the season and Kyrie Irving down the stretch.
He raised his game in the playoffs, scoring 18.5 points per game while upping his efficiency with a higher free-throw rate. His silky shooting touch, athleticism, and handle are great tools to start with; working with Bryant to refine his footwork, feints, and scoring approach should do wonders to take on a larger shot creating role when the offense bogs down.
Currently, Irving is the only elite shot creator on the Celtics.
And Tatum already has some of the Mamba mentality, bumping LeBron James and giving a stare down in a way few other players would brave after dunking on him in Game 7.
The Eastern Conference is open for the taking for the Celtics. This summer, Jayson Tatum is working on the tools to make it his own.