Celtics’ Head Coach Opens Up About the Impact Kevin Durant Had on Jayson Tatum During Tokyo Olympics

Published 10/09/2021, 8:13 AM EDT
May 28, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) passes the ball past Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first half during game three in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports


The Brooklyn Nets with the big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving were easily the title favorites last season. But injuries to Kyrie and Harden meant that Durant had to lead the team against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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With some of his best playoff performances, KD almost led the Nets to the Conference Finals and showed the world why he was one of the best in the world. His incredible form also continued in the Olympics.

Leading a side full of some incredible younger talents like Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum, Durant was the veteran in the side. His experience at the biggest international trophy was visible as Durant not only led USA to their fourth consecutive title, he also broke multiple records in the process.

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Celtics’ coach reveals the impact Kevin Durant had on Jayson Tatum

The Nets’ playoff run last season began against the Boston Celtics. A side who were missing one of their superstars in Jaylen Brown, a sweep looked imminent. But one player certainly wasn’t ready to let go off the series so easily, Jayson Tatum.

Tatum who had a career year with the Celtics was in top form in the playoffs. Leading his team to a single win against a formidable team like the Nets, the quality the 24-year-old clearly stood out for his team. He carried his immaculate form in the Olympics as well. Although he was not a starter, he flourished in the second unit and was the second highest scorer for the team in the Olympics.

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Celtics’ head coach Ime Udoka saw all of this first hand as he was one of Gregg Popovich’s assistant coaches. In a recent interview, Udoka spoke about the influence Durant had on Tatum during the Olympics. “It was great. You know, I think honestly Jayson watching some of Kevin’s work is a benefit for him.”

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He spoke about how KD’s routine after a game can be more intense than a match. “It’s almost like he makes it through practice and gets to his one on one routine and he goes more than game speed. And so I saw the young guys watching that. I think that’s invaluable for them to be around a guy see at the level he plays that and then see his work ethic behind it’s not a coincidence.”

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The upcoming 2021-22 season can be the one where Tatum cements his position as a superstar in the league. If the duo of Jaylen Brown and JT live up to their potential next season, the Celtics might become a dark horse contender.

WATCH THIS STORY: Kobe Bryant Picking Tony Allen, Magic Johnson Naming Michael Jordan, & Other NBA Legends Confessing Their Greatest Fears in the Form of Defenders

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Aditya Mohapatra

1242 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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