In his latest video for ESPN+, Bryant highlighted areas of Tatum’s postseason play that could be improved. The 20-year-old Tatum, the No. 3 pick in last year’s draft, is Boston’s leading postseason scorer, with 18.1 points per game, but he’s all ears when it comes to advice from an NBA legend.
“That was really cool for me. Growing up, [Bryant] was my favorite player. That was really a special moment for me,” Tatum said Saturday before Boston’s morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. The Celtics and Cavaliers meet in Game 3 on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
“I’ve probably watched [the video] like 25 times already. It’s very helpful information that I can take with me.”
Tatum said the biggest thing that stuck with him was that Bryant noted how Tatum’s foot sometimes points toward the midcourt stripe during drive attempts from the corner instead of at the basket to promote a stronger angle of attack.
“It was something that he noticed — and I mean, it made a lot of sense when he pointed it out,” Tatum said.
Tatum and the Celtics were back at the Q for the first time since opening night, when Gordon Hayward suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the opening minutes. Tatum has admitted that he battled butterflies early in his NBA regular-season debut, and he marveled at how far both he and the team have come since that night.
“Opening up your career, [the] first game of the season and playing against LeBron — everything that happened with the trade, there was a lot of hype and attention around it,” Tatum said. “Unfortunately, we lost Gordon that night, and it just changed our season from that night on.
“I think we’re a lot tougher, we’re a lot more together. Obviously, we’ve played 90-something games. That was the first game, so we were just still trying to figure each other out.”