Celtics’ Jayson Tatum enjoyed Team USA experience with Gregg Popovich
Team USA did not exactly have a good showing in the FIBA World Cup tournament this summer, failing to even earn a medal. However, that doesn’t mean the participants did not enjoy their stay.
“I love playing for Pop. He’s the best,” Jayson Tatum said at Celtics media day, via Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “I enjoyed my time with him. He reminds me of Coach K, so I’m very fortunate to have been able to play for two of the best.”
Tatum is coming off of a 2018-19 campaign in which he played 79 games and averaged 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals over 31.1 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor, 37.3 percent from 3-point range and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line.
The 21-year-old, who played his collegiate basketball at Duke, was originally selected by Boston with the third overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
He appeared in 80 contests during his rookie year, registering 13.9 points, 5.0 boards and 1.0 steal across 30.5 minutes a night while making 47.5 percent of his field-goal attempts, 43.4 percent of his long-distance tries and 82.6 percent of his foul shots.
Tatum then had a very impressive playoff run that year, recording 18.5 points per game en route to helping lead the C’s to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.
The Celtics were disappointing last season, however, winning just 49 games and losing in the second round of the playoffs.