In a recent appearance on 'The Draymond Green Show,' Celtics star Jayson Tatum told of an encounter with Kevin Durant during a Team USA practice last summer.
According to the young star, Durant yelled at him after he passed him the ball on an offensive possession.
“I remember being out therein Vegas, the first day we scrimmaged. And I remember we played the select team, kicked our a** the first day, we was out of shape. But I remember coming down on the wing, somebody kicked me the ball, and on the Celtics I would have shot it. And it was like halfway I coulda shot it. I just remember that KD was to the right of me [so] I passed it to him,” Tatum shared. “I remembered he got mad at me. He was like ‘Yo, don’t look at me. Be yourself, I need you to kill. And I was like 'damn.' That was the first time I was like 'he want me to hoop too.' Don't look at it like that's KD, we on the same team -- like, he need me to do me on this team."
Durant has been one of the most vocal fans of Tatum. During the Olympics, he predicted Tatum would be the next one to break the scoring record. Before that, he credited Tatum as one of the hardest players he's ever had to guard.
“I’ve been in the league for 13, 14 years and I started to like tally mark the matchups, the series, the players that I’ve played against,” Durant said, via Mass Live. “… I’ve had series against Kobe, LeBron, Tim Duncan, the Memphis Grizzlies—Jayson Tatum is in that conversation. He’s that elite level player already at 23 and I’m like, alright, I can see where this is going. It was an honor to play against him.”
To lump Tatum in with guys like Duncan, LeBron, and Kobe really says a lot about the impression he has made on his peers. As one of the best scorers in the league, it's easy how one might see greatness in him.
But for Tatum to really shine, he's going to have to start winning in the playoffs. This season, with Boston's miraculous turnaround, perhaps it's a perfect time.
All we can do is wait and see.