Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum worked out with former Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant this summer and Tatum says Bryant helped him with his post game.
Bryant was Tatum’s favorite player growing up and Tatum tried to model his game after Bryant’s. The 20-year-old had a sound rookie season with Boston, averaging 13.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 80 regular-season games while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from three.
Tatum took his game to another level during the Celtics’ playoff run. The 6-foot-8 scoring forward posted 18.5 points per game and shot 47.1 percent overall and 32.4 percent from beyond the arc in 19 games. Tatum has unlimited range, a lethal hesi pull-up jumper, and now after working out with Bryant, an improved post up game.
“Maybe a few things he showed me, post moves,” Tatum said about what he learned from Bryant. “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.”
Tatum says he’s also gotten stronger this offseason.
“That’s probably been the biggest focus,” Tatum said. “I’m still young, so it’s hard to really just throw on a bunch of extra pounds. But I’ve definitely gotten a lot stronger. I just wanted to get my body right and keep getting stronger.”
Many have picked Tatum and the Celtics to win the Eastern Conference now that LeBron James is out West. With both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving expected to be healthy next season, the Celtics are primed to contend for a championship.
Without Irving and Hayward during the 2018 postseason, Boston took James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, so one would surmise the Celtics will be even more dangerous with its two stars back.