It’s tough to find space on the Jayson Tatum bandwagon these days. Everyone, even LeBron James want a piece of the kid.
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman has been riding the Tatum train for a very long time, in fact he may even be driving it. Goodman joined host Evan Valenti on this week’s Celtics Beat Podcast on CLNS Media Network and said he’d be shocked if Tatum’s career doesn’t end with a call to the Hall.
“I do think this kid ends up in the Hall of Fame one day. And people think I’m crazy, but he’s got that ability. But I’d be more surprised, and I know this sounds insane, but I’d be more surprised if he didn’t end up in the Hall of Fame.”
Earlier this year as a guest on the Bob Ryan podcast Goodman declared that Tatum would end up a better player than Celtics legend Paul Pierce. Since Pierce is bound for Springfield stands to reason by Goodman’s logic Tatum is too. But the Tatum love for Goodman goes way back.
“Yeah first time I saw him his sophomore year of high school, it was at LeBron’s Camp actually, and I loved him,” Goodman told Valenti. “He was more actually of a point-forward at that game. And he couldn’t shoot the ball beyond mid-range.”
The outside shooting caught everyone by surprise as Tatum looked comfortable hoisting it from three from day one. He finished the season top 10 in the NBA in 3-pt field goal percentage.
“This year it was clear what Brad Stevens wanted from him. And i think he tried to make it simple for Jayson which is, ‘Hey we need you to score the basketball. When you’re out there you’re primary’ and that’s always going to be his primary thing, scoring. But he can do much more. He’s so versatile. His athleticism is sneaky. He can really play over the rim. He can get to the rim so quickly.”
But beyond being a dynamic scorer, Goodman feels Tatum has a lot of other skills many people didn’t know about.
“He can defend, which listen when I saw him at Duke he didn’t defend and I joke about that with him now,” said Goodman. “He’s very underrated as a passer and I think we’ll see more of that as his career progresses.”
“I love his IQ, I love his personality. To watch his maturity, his game, just everything about him, how he conducts himself. I think he has a lot of Al Horford in him in terms of the in the locker room, intangibles, leadership qualities that will rear their head as his career progresses.”