If you think Jayson Tatum is good now, imagine how good the Boston Celtics rookie phenom will be once he adds some size to his slender frame.
Following a great rookie campaign in the NBA, the 20-year-old stud will enter his second season in the NBA with higher expectations and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens wants him to add some strength to be able to handle the heavier load.
Besides that powerful dunk he posterized LeBron James with in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Tatum’s main scoring has come from the outside or weaving his way to the hoop off the dribble.
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With a fluid jump shot and 43 percent shooting from beyond the three-point stripe during his rookie season, there isn’t much more he needs to improve on other than his low post game and becoming a more physical player.
To become more physical, he needs to add strength. That has been Duke product’s focus during the summer and something Stevens has placed emphasis on going into Tatum’s sophomore season in the NBA.
“Being able to play lower, longer requires a significant deal of core strength for any player, certainly for a younger player with size,” Stevens told the Yahoo Sports NBA podcast. “That’s really been our emphasis, to continue to focus on the core strength of things.”
As a 6-foot-8 205-pound wing player with extreme length, Tatum has shown a great maturity in his offensive game by creating space to get his outside shot off. He also showcased a unique ability to get to the rim by driving past defenders with a nice crossover dribble and a quick first step.
Add to that a low post game and Jayson Tatum could be unstoppable on the offensive end. But, the benefit of adding strength won’t just come on the offensive end. With his length, his ability to play bigger on the defensive end will benefit the team as well.
With Gordon Hayward returning from a season-ending injury, most of Tatum’s minutes in the 2018-19 season could come from playing the four and even the five at times. That is where a more physical Jason Tatum will benefit Stevens and the kind of lineups he can throw out there.
It won’t happen overnight, nor does it have to. At just 20 years old, the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year finalist will naturally fill out. That will only aide his continuous motivation to get stronger on both ends of the court for the Boston Celtics.
Overall, it is good to see Tatum’s focus on improving on an already impressive offensive and defensive game.