The USA Men’s Basketball Team held their first intrasquad matchup after a week of practices. On Friday night, fans got to see Team Blue, which featured Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner, and De’Aaron Fox defeat Team White, which featured Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson Jr, Jonathon Isaac, and Derrick White.
After watching the highlights of the game and checking out the numbers in the box score, it was evident that Jayson Tatum was the best player on the court that night. He finished the game with 17 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 75% from the field (60% from three). He also ended the game with a +/- of +18 in 15 minutes off the bench.
I know this was only a scrimmage and people might not think much of his performance, but I think this game was a sign of things to come next season. It was only a scrimmage, but it’s not like Jayson Tatum was going up against nobodies. He was going up against real NBA players who were fighting for roster spots, so it’s not like these players weren’t trying at all.
Jayson Tatum just flat-out looked the best he ever has. He seemed to have improved almost every aspect of his game. He’s starting to realize he has the absolute green light to shoot from three. Tatum would always settle for long 2s and move away from the three-point line. He showed confidence in his three-pointer and looked like he won’t dare to hesitate if he’s left open for three.
Drew Hanlen, Jayson Tatum’s skills coach, said they’re looking to eliminate Tatum’s mid-range game. They’re working on making Jayson more comfortable settling for 3s instead of 2s. Hanlen also said Tatum is “as locked in as ever.”
What I’m getting from this is Tatum is not only going to eliminate his mid-range game but is going to shoot a lot more threes next season. Tatum shot nearly four threes a game last year, but that number is going to jump. I’d love it if he shot close to 8-10 threes a game. We all expect Tatum’s production to go up and take that big step next season, and it starts with taking more shots and being smarter with his shot selection.
You can make your judgment about whether or not I’m overreacting to Jayson’s performance in a Team USA intrasquad game, but I think it means something. Jayson Tatum gave us a preview of what will come next season, and I’m more than excited about it. I fully expect Jayson to have a breakout year, and I truly believe he will average over 20 points per game and become an All-Star for the first time.
And not for nothing, here’s another clip of Jayson Tatum absolutely balling out.
Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports Images