Jayson Tatum is coming off the longest season of any rookie from his class, falling only a game short of reaching the NBA Finals. While the Boston Celtics forward displayed the ability to be a high-level scorer during his postseason run, Tatum teamed up with his longtime trainer Drew Hanlen, who has trained him since the ripe age of 13.
The lanky 6-foot-8 forward is now working on three particular areas to elevate his game, now that the East is wide open after the departure of LeBron James.
“We’ve been working on continuing to improve his three-point numbers off the bounce,” Hanlen told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “A lot of people thought he couldn’t shoot when he was in college. Well, we knew he could shoot and we made a couple changes during pre-draft, and then he was one of the Top-10 three-point shooters in the NBA as a rookie, which is just unheard of. But we’re continuing to improve his range and his ability to knock shots down off the bounce – that’s one thing we’re working on.”
Tatum knocked down treys at a surprising 43.5 percent clip during his rookie season, easily the highest mark among his fellow draftmates, finishing eighth overall in the league rankings. But consistency is only one of the aspects he plans to tackle this offseason.
“No. 2 is driving through contact,” said Hanlen. “He’s really, really good at doing what LeBron James does at times, where he swipes off defenders when they try to start jamming him, but we noticed that he’d get bumped off of his line a little bit, so we want him taking an extra dribble and being able to use his body a bit more and be more physical while he’s driving – that’s the second thing we’re working on.”
“Then, the No. 3 thing is playmaking for him as well. He’s a guy who is an automatic bucket; I think he’s one of the best bucket-getters in the NBA. We want him to make smart passes when teams double-team him and start throwing different rotations at him.”
The Boston Celtics are expected to be one of the frontrunners to take the throne in the Eastern Conference, but Tatum’s well-scouted prowess will need to develop some counters to remain an offensive force for his team. It seems Hanlen has him on that path.