Sportress of Blogitude

LeBron James offers high praise for Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum, who once played a little basketball with LeBron James as a kid, drew high praise from The King himself ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 of Eastern Conference Finals.

“I think his composure (is impressive), he plays above his age,” James said, via the Boston Globe. “I think the unfortunate events of the injuries that they’ve had have allowed him to, I believe, get better faster than I believe they expected here. Because it’s given him an opportunity to make fail plays or make mistakes and learn from them and still be on the floor.

“His talent, his composure, where he comes from has allowed him to be successful so he’s a very, very, very good player already and he definitely at this pace can become a great player.”

As noted, James’ complimentary words must be quite flattering for Tatum, who once asked LeBron to follow him on Twitter in 2012 after playing some one-on-one with the then-Miami Heat star a few years earlier when he was about 10 years old.

Even more crazy? Tatum counts Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue as a first cousin once removed. Small world.

Tatum, selected by the Boston Celtics with the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, has seen his star rise in the playoffs. The 20-year-old Tatum is shooting 46.3 percent from the field while averaging 18.0 points in 16 postseason games. His usage has increased to 35.1 minutes per game, almost a five full minutes above his court time in the regular season.

Ahead of Boston’s showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East Finals, Tatum admitted to feeling “a lot more relaxed, a lot more confident” in the postseason.