There is little doubt that this year’s rookie class is one of the best in a long time. Along with the Los Angeles Lakers duo of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, players such as Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith Jr., Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum have all played major roles for their teams.
Though he has had some struggles recently, Tatum has caught the eye of many thanks to his mature game. Tatum is a polished offensive player with excellent footwork and a number of moves in his arsenal.
He learned a lot from studying tapes, but apparently it wasn’t of the player who he wanted to most. Tatum appeared on the ESPN NBA Pregame Show in an interview segment with Celtics legend Paul Pierce, to whom he has drawn comparisons.
Tatum revealed that his favorite player was actually Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, but his father made him watch Pierce videos instead:
“It started when I was younger because all I used to want to do was shoot fadeaways like Kobe. He was my favorite player. But my dad was always like, ‘Listen, you need to watch The Truth. Paul Pierce. He’s athletic but he’s not the most athletic guy, and he still found a way to get his shot up every time.’ He was like, ’That’s what you are. You have size and footwork.’ I started watching you, and I was like, yeah, I see that.”
Tatum undoubtedly shares some similarities with Pierce as he is more of a bigger small forward than a lightning-quick shooting guard like Kobe was when he came into the league. For him to be drafted by Boston after studying Pierce is truly an amazing coincidence.
That being said, there is no one who had more ways to score than Kobe. When it comes to footwork and mastering moves, Kobe is usually the way to go. Even though he is wearing green, Tatum could still get some personal lessons from his favorite player if he wants to, as Kobe is always willing to help the younger generation.
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