Celtics Star Jayson Tatum Sounds off on Kevin Durant’s Demands

Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum’s recent performances have propelled him into MVP conversations over the last few weeks, and the Boston Celtics star has shown no signs of slowing down.

Tatum had a tough start to the season, primarily because he was struggling to see his shot fall, regardless of where his attempts came from. Over the first two months of the season, the three-time All-Star was averaging 41.4% from the field and 32.7% from deep, per Basketball-Reference.

While those numbers are still respectable for an NBA talent, they’re not befitting a multi-time All-Star and potential MVP candidate. Yet, Tatum has seen his level of play skyrocket since the All-Star break and is now earning plaudits from around the league.

It’s easy to forget that Tatum didn’t have any rest between the end of last season and the beginning of the current one, as he was representing Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. While on Team USA duty, Tatum developed a strong understanding with Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, and the latter went on record stating that he believed Tatum was destined for greatness following the tournament.

On April 1, 2022, Jayson Tatum returned the favor by backing Kevin Durants claim that he deserves to have his jersey retired by both the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors.

Durant spent eight years with the Thunder before he joined the Warriors, where he went on to win two championships.

Tatum Enjoyed Learning From Durant With Team USA

During a recent podcast interview on The Draymond Green show, Tatum opened up about his level of respect for Durant, and how he relished the opportunity to learn from one of the game’s greatest players of all time.

“I was like “well, K is on the team” and I remember being 15-years-old and going to K’s camp in DC and how excited I was to be there. Fast forward to playing against him in the playoffs last year, and now being on the same team as him,

And getting to see how somebody I looked up to at one point, see how he go about his routine, how he works, how he sees and thinks the game on a personal level. For me I was like ‘yeah I’m going,'” Tatum told Green.

Tatum and Durant ended up forming a potent one-two punch during the Olympics and helped guide Team USA to a gold medal. Tatum is widely seen as the future face of Team USA due to his scoring and passing ability, along with the fact that he’s been in the international setup since his youth days, so he understands the processes in place.

Durant Spoke Glowing of Tatum After Recent Encounter

According to Stathead, Tatum and Durant have faced off seven times during the regular season, with Durant tasting victory on four occasions. Throughout those games, Tatum has averaged 20.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. The pair have also gone toe-to-toe five times during the playoffs, with Durant winning four of those battles as the Nets defeated the short-handed Celtics in the first round of the 2020-21 playoffs.

However, following the Celtics’ March 6 victory over the Nets, Durant felt compelled to shower the rising superstar with some praise, “He got some free throws there in the fourth and then he made some tough shots, some 3-point shots. He’s an elite shot-maker. He’s been knocking ’em down, playing with confidence lately.”

This isn’t the first time Durant has spoken of Tatum in such a high regard, the superstar also discussed the St Louis native’s potential on his own podcast, and didn’t hold back in his assessment.

“I’ve been in the league for 13, 14 years and I started to tally-mark the matchups, the series, the players that I’ve played against. I’ve had series against Kobe, LeBron, Tim Duncan, and the Memphis Grizzlies — Jayson Tatum is in that conversation. He’s that elite level player already at 23 and I’m like, ‘All right, I can see where this is going. It was an honor to play against him,” Durant said.

Tatum’s stock is rapidly rising around the NBA, and he’s quickly earned the respect of his peers. Now, the All-Star wing will have his sights set on a potential MVP level season next year, and leading the Celtics towards banner 18. But for now, the 24-year-old wing will have his sights firmly set on helping the Celtics make another deep post-season run when the playoffs start on April 16.





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