Lebron James on Jayson Tatum - "I just love everything about the kid."
Lebron James got a close look at rookie Jayson Tatum's talent level, and he loves what he sees.
The Celtics and Cavaliers went to seven games in their Eastern Conference Finals series, and while Lebron was the constant go-to guy for Cleveland, Tatum often had the same role for Boston. This is what The King had to say about Jayson after Boston's elimination from the post-season (per MassLive's Tom Westerholm): "I just love everything about the kid -- the way he plays the game, his demeanor, where he comes from," James said. "I know his parents. I just know he's just built for stardom. He's built for success. And that's both on and off the floor."
Tatum was obviously flattered by the accolades from the best player on the planet. This is Jayson's reaction to James' praise (per MassLive's Tom Westerholm): "That was a special moment for me, because it's different," Tatum said. "It's my first year in the league. I grew up watching LeBron and asking him to follow me back on Twitter, going to his camps. So just to my first year, to be able to compete against a player like him and be a few shots away from beating him and his team to go to the championship is something I will always remember."
Lebron came into the League in 2003 as an 18-year-old, and Jayson came in a year older. Without going into specific numbers, if Jayson's rookie stats are adjusted to allow for the increased average minutes Lebron played, the two compare quite closely. Points, rebounds and steals are close, while James gets the clear nod on rebounds. Tatum comes out the winner in all three shooting categories (FG% - 3-Point%- FT%).
The above tweet indicates what was on the minds of many observers of that Game Seven. Even Lebron James had to wonder. Why didn't Jayson get more looks in the closing minutes of that game? He always seems to be able to get his shot off, even under very close coverage, and he rarely takes a bad one.
James is right. This kid is heading to stardom. True NBA stars are created in the off-season. Improving his strength and ball-handling will show dividends in the upcoming season and make Tatum even more versatile. He is an incredible talent!