Last week Celtics rising star Jayson Tatum was a guest on The Bill Simmons Podcast. During the interview, the tandem discussed a variety of different topics, which included the atmosphere of game seven against LeBron James this past season, his time at Duke, and his area of focus heading into his sophomore season.
Tatum put the rest of the NBA on notice this past season that he is the real deal. Some would even say if they could go back in time they would have drafted him with either of the top two picks. Last month basketball skills and shooting coach Drew Hanlen released a video via twitter detailing similarities between Tatum and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. Hanlen would then show the video to Kobe during a workout with Tatum. Bryant was left puzzled wondering why didn’t the Lakers take Tatum with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft,” Hanlen told FS1’s Evan Daniels (h/t Andrew Joseph of USA Today). ” Which is odd because Tatum grew up idolizing the Laker legend.
— Drew Hanlen (@DrewHanlen) July 27, 2018
Also, earlier this year Kobe profiled Tatum during a segment of “Detail,” which is a platform in a partnership with ESPN that shows Kobe breaking down other players strength and weakness.
Simmons asked Tatum when Kobe did the Detail [episode] on him was it a big deal?
Tatum responded “Yeah, I watched it like 70 times. That was my favorite player ever.”
On the episode of Detail featuring Tatum, Kobe talks about him concentrating on improving his game in catch and shoot scenarios. To complement his post up, Isolation game, and creating opportunities. Kobe was breaking down angles and hiding pockets off the curl to shoot the ball. He would also name players that were experts of catching a shooting off the ball guys like Richard Hamilton, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller are some other names I would mention.
“I got a chance to just sit down and talk to him first. You know, I got to meet with him. And we talked about a lot of things, basketball-related, non-basketball-related. I tried to get into his mind and see how he went about things. Just trying to get better each year, what he wanted to improve year after year, so he didn’t backtrack or be complacent,” Tatum told Simmons. “His will to just be the best and just striving to get better every year. That’s one thing I found interesting.”
According to the Boston Globe:
“It’s tough to put on a bunch of weight right now, being how young I am, but I definitely have gotten a lot stronger,” he said. “That’s really all I can ask for. I don’t really want to get too heavy, you know. I still want to be able to move in the paint.”
Tatum said it does not matter to him whether he starts or comes off the bench.
“I understand how deep our team is,” he said. “I just care about winning and doing what I can while I’m on the floor.”