Like many, Shane Larkin thinks there is something special about Jayson Tatum’s game.
The former Celtic back-up guard recently spoke to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach about what it was like spending last season as the 20-year-old rookie’s teammate.
Larkin and Tatum have become close friends, but even as a guard who has played for four different NBA teams, Larkin told Himmelsbach there’s only so much advice he can give Tatum.
Larkin thinks the Rookie of the Year finalist has a lot figured out already.
“His potential is unlimited,” Larkin told the Globe. “He’s 6-foot-10, he’s got the ball on a string, he can shoot it with anybody…Defensively, he’s very smart. He’s always in the right place, and he’s going to continue to get better and grow and get smarter…And I think with the skill set he already has, he can easily be one of the top five players in the league if he continues to work and lock in and really devote himself to the game.”
Larkin noted that Tatum has little visible weakness, and the key to the young forward’s further development and success will be related more so to how he approaches the game mentally. According to Larkin, patience during long stretches without points, or without the ball in his hands, will be a virtue for Tatum, especially with opposing teams adjusting, and All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returning to the team’s lineup next season.
“A lot of young guys, when they don’t get the ball early they kind of fizzle out,” Larkin said. “Sometimes in the playoffs when JT didn’t get going early, he kind of let that affect his mind, and then he’d get an open shot or have an opportunity and wouldn’t take full advantage of it. Just mentally he just has to find a way to stay locked in all the time …”
Tatum himself stressed the narrative at the end of the season that he’d like to get stronger and add muscle to his frame. With additional muscle would come more defensive versatility.
“Continue to grow and be able to switch onto some small [centers] when people are going small and just have that lineup out there where he can switch [on screens] and guard point guards and guard centers and just be very versatile defensively,” Larkin said of Tatum. “Because offensively, you don’t need to tell him anything.”
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Full article @ Shane Larkin sees ‘unlimited’ potential, future Top-5 talent in Jayson Tatum
Source: GreenStreet Blog