Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum discusses O.G. Anunoby's impressive growth from their AAU days, how he can relate to what Scottie Barnes is dealing with in his sophomore year and why the Raptors are a tough defence to face.
JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, me and OG played on an AU team, St. Louis Eagles. For the summer, too, I think back in 2013, 2014, so. A good friend in Boston, but I'm really happy for him. Just to see how much his game is developed when we were 15 years old to now.
And I told him, I told him before the game started that I'll probably see him in Utah at the All-Star game, that's how well he's been playing. I told him he gonna have to play like an All-Star tonight. But I mean, that was a player-- somebody I love competing against. You know, elegant defender, as well.
- Scottie Barnes on the other side trying to follow up an awesome rookie year on a veteran team, trying to-- not a veteran team, but a team with veterans trying to win in real time while expand his game. I mean, in your second year, sort of a similar situation.
Looking back to that time in your career, what did you-- I know you're different players, but what did you really learn and pick up from that time in your career that you're able to take into, as you just said, the upper echelon of this league?
JAYSON TATUM: Yeah. I'm a big fan of Scottie's. He won Rookie of the Year deservedly. Love the way he competes on both ends, how talented he is. Just like, the cat is out the bag.
It's not surprising people [INAUDIBLE]. The rookie kind of surprised guys. He's a scouting point. People know he's capable of, and how talented he is. So I think everybody in that second year is on that trajectory, he knows it. He's going to find it, but he probably go through some ups and downs. And he's still probably 20 years--
- 21, yeah.
JAYSON TATUM: --21. And he just got to figure out that guys are ready for him, preparing for him, as they should be. Like you said, it's like a sign of respect. And he's going to continue to grow and get better. So. I think just with the guys that they have on their team, they're capable of doing so many different things, right?
They got-- they throw a lot of it out there. Five guys basically the same height. They switch everything, full court press, box and one, two, three. And their energy never drops from the moment they step in. And they maintain to go into the level. They all play hard, they all compete. They're physical. It's been like that for the last couple of years. So you've just got to be prepared. They post a lot of turnovers and things like that. So you got to be taking care of the ball. Or it's just going to be one thing.
- Jason you guys are a very talented team. But how much of your success this year and over the past calendar year is attributed to the chemistry of this group, coming back year after year and finding that chemistry together?
JAYSON TATUM: Yeah. That has a lot to do with our success. For the most part, we had the core group of four, five, six guys for a couple of years now. And each guy's individually gotten better in a lot of areas. And I think that's really gelled.
Again, in the last year, calendar year, we started to figure it out. And we really just been rolling ever since. We got some new guys on the team this year, but they're great guys, great teammates. Guys who are really smart and fit in perfectly. And we all just complement each other.