I could listen to Kevin Durant talk about basketball until my ears bled. Many people consider him one of the greatest basketball minds of our generation. So you'll forgive me if I don't exactly disagree with anything he just said. It has to be a pretty cool feeling to have an all time great scorer like Durant talk about your game like that. This is why you have to try your best to not get worked up where someone like Nick Wright ranks a player like Jayson Tatum. Listen to what Durant said in that clip. What holds more weight?
A stoolie actually asked me this recently so I looked it up for him. There's no denying that the Tatum/Durant matchup was a factor in how that series went. That length gave Tatum fits at times, but it was also really important for his development. In the 5 game series Durant matched up against Tatum a total of 114 possessions. Tatum had a total of 40 points on 12-31 shooting. Fair to say Durant won the individual matchup. But he's right. Tatum did have his moments
Even with all the double teams and defensive focus, Tatum still averaged 26.9/7.4/4.3 on 45/38% splits with 2.9 3PM a night in the series. He proved he can go toe to toe with the elite players in the league at 23. If you look throughout NBA history, more often than not you need that top 5ish guy if you want to win a title. It's the most important and hardest piece to find. You listen to Durant in that clip, I'd dare to say he thinks Tatum could one day get there.
The key there is, one day.
As there has been every year for the most part, you can expect some progress in Tatum's development. A new element added to his game, refining some areas that are already starting to improve, things of that nature. I'd love to see him come back with a much improved and tighter handle, sort of like what Jaylen did before his next leap. Tatum has to find a way to get better at dribbling in traffic and tightening things up before he goes into his move. If you get up on him, you can get a piece of the ball. Then continue to build off the improved playmaking and now you're cooking with gas.
As a fan, it makes me very happy to hear someone like Durant talk about Tatum this way. That tells me that the idea of Tatum blossoming into that player one day is possible. Durant isn't saying this shit about just any player. When he talks basketball, you should probably listen.
Now if Durant wants to get serious about this and maybe come on over and join him, well then even better. Seems like a win/win all around.