Jayson Tatum Needs His Own Thread

Devizier

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Also, in last nights game Tatum was finishing at the hoop with great efficiency. I wonder how much the threat of a step back helps him there. Mostly though it looks like he’s hiding the ball better.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Also, in last nights game Tatum was finishing at the hoop with great efficiency. I wonder how much the threat of a step back helps him there. Mostly though it looks like he’s hiding the ball better.
I think he's taking extra dribbles too, which is a small but crucial change. I think we all fondly remember him as a rookie swooping in from the lane and finishing, but as defenders figured it out, it became very easy to block or defender. You really didn't see that many instances where he would take those extra dribbles, get nice and close, and still use that range to find blue sky, whether it's an up and under, reverse, whatever.

By the way, Jaylen has also mastered the same thing this year except he is more likely to do it with his strength and quick leaping to clear space.

Very impressive when both of them spent a lot of time missing more layups than it seemed like they should be missing earlier in their careers.
 

RetractableRoof

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I think he's taking extra dribbles too, which is a small but crucial change. I think we all fondly remember him as a rookie swooping in from the lane and finishing, but as defenders figured it out, it became very easy to block or defender. You really didn't see that many instances where he would take those extra dribbles, get nice and close, and still use that range to find blue sky, whether it's an up and under, reverse, whatever.

By the way, Jaylen has also mastered the same thing this year except he is more likely to do it with his strength and quick leaping to clear space.

Very impressive when both of them spent a lot of time missing more layups than it seemed like they should be missing earlier in their careers.
I think this might also be (beyond both of them putting in the off season hours on their handle) a by-product of the seal set. As they've both learned to exploit the set, they've gotten comfortable with putting defenders behind them (in jail?), change the pace of their penetration, and generally be more comfortable dribbling in traffic. That confidence (and calmness) is allowing them to appraise the situation for the opportunities you mention.
 

RetractableRoof

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I was thinking a bit about the leap this year of the two Jays (and to a lesser but real extent Marcus Smart and his passing). Many have commented on better handles, more attacking, additions to their game. We've given a lot of credit in a lot of deserved directions. I think there is one more direction that has been influential to each of them that hasn't been mentioned (or that I've misssed): their international experience with the US National team.

The team may not have come back with the gold medal they were after, but the Cs representatives all were in the environment from beginning to end (excepting some injury time). Training, practice, scrimmages, games, all of it. Kemba was already comfortable with being in the rarefied air of that environment, but for the others it had to be eye opening from a number of perspectives. 1) The potential acceptance/confirmation/proof that "they belong" can't be understated. 2) Seeing the things that others do to either prepare, be ready for practice/training/games . 3) Being on the court with others that expect and deliver a certain level of in-game execution. 4) Being in an environment where subjugating egos is necessary for the team to flourish. 5) Bonding with Kemba (and each other) in an environment where TEAM success is the only objective. I'm sure I missed (or mis-stated) an item or three, but there is sooo much value in this experience. Going forward, I have to believe that Tatum will be selected to the Olympic team (if they aren't cancelled due to pandemic concerns), Brown/Smart will be lesser options once the guys who skipped the worlds jump back in (assuming Pop allows them to). This secondary exposure in that environment should again provide a growth opportunity for Tatum, and anyone else selected.

I remember reading a bit about Patrick Ewing after the dream team experience. The gist of it was that coming from the Knicks and being the alpha there, he wasn't ready/aware of the expectations of playing with other great players. One example was that at any moment, at any time a pass could be coming and he had to be ready to receive it and execute with it, where with the Knicks the pass didn't come until he was ready to receive it. He talked about it raising his game, because he saw what he could be capable of in the context of other great players.

Like I said, just a passing thought.
 

bigq

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I agree 100%. The extended preseason and team building experience for Smart, Kemba, Brown and Tatum in China was a boon for the team. I think there was discussion around this in another thread. Maybe the FIBA World Cup or the offseason thread. Anyway, this team seems to be closer knit by a mile than last year and the time together in China played a big part in that.
 

Jimbodandy

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I agree 100%. The extended preseason and team building experience for Smart, Kemba, Brown and Tatum in China was a boon for the team. I think there was discussion around this in another thread. Maybe the FIBA World Cup or the offseason thread. Anyway, this team seems to be closer knit by a mile than last year and the time together in China played a big part in that.
Good call out. It definitely helped. The chemistry is off the charts.

Addition by subtraction isn't the only factor here, though it is also real.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Good call out. It definitely helped. The chemistry is off the charts.

Addition by subtraction isn't the only factor here, though it is also real.
A lot of it is just potential turning into skill. The great thing is, Jaylen and Jayson still have a few more years of serious growth.
 

lovegtm

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A lot of it is just potential turning into skill. The great thing is, Jaylen and Jayson still have a few more years of serious growth.
Yeah, I made this point a few days ago: when you watch last year’s playoffs, Tatum was already becoming who he is on off-ball D. Jackie Mac’s Pop narrative was sweet, but inaccurate.

It also does a disservice to Tatum and Brown: they both clearly want to be great and are willing to put in a lot of time across all facets of the game.
 

Jimbodandy

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Yeah. Evolution of two great young players is the biggest piece, no doubt. They deserve the bulk of the credit for the difference.

Not having teammates holding them back also helps though. In fact, Hayward and Kemba are actively sublimating their own games and empowering the Jays. Stark contrast to last year.

And while chemistry is poo pooed in a lot of circles, I think that those four guys om the national team hanging together, bonding with each other and other pros, hearing a lot of the same shit but also new and interesting shit from Pop has value. Knowing that you belong has value.
 
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NomarsFool

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Not to take anything away from JB and JT, but Hayward is a MUCH better player this year than he was last year. So, the difference from last season is a combination of their growth (which is great, don't get me wrong), the Kemba instead of Kyrie upgrade (chemistry and defense), and Hayward's improvement. All those things (also getting rid of Morris and Rozier) just add up to a much more successful and enjoyable team.
 

PedrosRedGlove

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I forget where I heard it, I think in Jaylen's new interview segment with Taylor Rooks. He spoke about his struggles and anxiety last year, then went into detail about the China trip and how much it helped develop this year's chemistry. He specifically noted how positive of an influence on everyone Kemba was thoughout the whole process, including the disappointing losses, never getting down and driving home that it could be a learning experience rather than a failure.

It must have been such a breath of fresh air after last year. Basketball being a team game, I think I'd take Kemba Walker 10 times out of 10 over Kyrie Irving having watched both on a daily basis now. The contrast in their ability to actually Lead a team is stark.
 

TripleOT

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If Kyrie couldn't handle sharing the stage with LeBron, he certainly didn't have enough character to share it with two up and comers like Tatum and Brown. Kemba wants to win. He was a winner in college, and was stuck in a horrible situation with that clownshow that Michael Jordan runs in Charlotte.

Whether he's 1-11 in a game or 9-11, Kemba still has the same attitude - attack and play team ball. I have never gotten the impression that it was about him, while every minute I watched Kyrie I never got the impression that it wasn't about him.

Thursday night in a nationally televised game, Kemba could have tried to put the focus on him in crunch time. Kyrie certainly would have. Instead he ceded to Tatum, who was locked in and having his way with one of the best defenders in the league.

If the Cs can surpass the Raps, they would probably get the Nets in the first round. Assuming Kyrie plays, it will be fun watching him get dogged in the playoffs.
 

Saints Rest

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Yeah. Evolution of two great young players is the biggest piece, no doubt. They deserve the bulk of the credit for the difference.

Not having teammates holding them back also helps though. In fact, Hayward and Kemba are actively sublimating their own games and empowering the Jays. Stark contrast to last year.

And while chemistry is poo pooed in a lot of circles, I think that those four guys om the national team hanging together, bonding with each other and other pros, hearing a lot of the same shit but also new and interesting shit from Pop has value. Knowing that you belong has value.
I think this was the one bit missing from RetractableRoof’s analysis. My sense is that Brad and Pop preach a similar gospel but being two different people with wildly different resumes, they are going to teach it in different ways. This means that not only are the Jays (and Marcus) getting a new perspective on it, they are also getting Brad’s message reinforced by a HOF coach.