How Is “Plan J” Going?

The little time I’ve been able to watch USA basketball I’ve seen some encouraging things from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Both are using their speed more effectively than they did last season, knowing where and when to cut to the basket. Brown appears more in control off-ball in the half court than he does with the ball in the full court. Brown needs to tighten up his loose dribbling and learn how to control his explosive downhill speed. I compare Brown in the latter situation to a child on a sugar high running around the house banging his knees on various pieces of furniture. Tatum could use more than a bit of Brown’s recklessness as he is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

As a ball-handler, Tatum fails to take the initiative and effectively use his athleticism to go to the rim, settling for mid-range jump shots. Tatum in the two games he’s played for Greg Popovich looks a little better than he did his sophomore season. Trying to draw fouls, not be so averse to contact and focusing on making quicker decisions on-ball. Popovich likes to instill quick ball-movement in his offense frequently running what he calls “.5” which means if you have the ball you have half a second to decide what you want to do with it. If you pass, then your teammate passes just as quick you’re likelier to get a better shot attempt. This is something Tatum desperately needs to grasp entering his third season where he’ll have the ball more often than not.

It’s frustrating to watch Tatum at times because I know for a fact he is lethal off the dribble. His blatant disinterest in creating separation is what is holding him back. Stevens needs to figure out how he can coax Tatum to being more aggressive and to up his catch-and-shoot attempts. In his two professional seasons Tatum hasn’t taken nearly enough C&S.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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