Later this month, Jayson Tatum will be going for the gold with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Boston Celtics forward will be joined by fellow NBA superstars Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard among other elite talents. He'll also get some quality time with new C's head coach Ime Udoka, who will serve as an assistant for head coach Gregg Popovich.
On a brand new Celtics Talk Podcast, NBC Olympics basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla joined our Chris Forsberg to discuss expectations for Tatum, Udoka, and Team USA in Tokyo.
"They have so much offensive power with Tatum and Beal and Lillard, and of course Kevin Durant and others. I expect [Tatum] to continue to grow as a great player," Fraschilla said. "Remember, they were really counting on him in 2019 in the World Cup. He was likely to be a young team's go-to guy and the ankle sprain kept that from happening. Now, coming off two great seasons since then ... his confidence is going to grow because he's among some of the best players in the world including Kevin Durant. It can't help but suck up some of the oxygen that these guys give off, but I also think it's going to give him confidence that he can be one of the best players in the world, which he's on the way to being.
"I think it's enormous for him, and it's great for him to be able to do what LeBron [James] did, what Kobe [Bryant] did, what Michael [Jordan] and Larry [Bird] did, and certainly most recently what KD's doing."
All eyes in Boston will be on Tatum and Udoka this summer, but Fraschilla says the 23-year-old's experience learning from the other Team USA coaches will be invaluable as well.
"I think Jayson's going to benefit just from his experience with Ime, but don't forget he's getting to play for a legend in [Popovich]," he said. "He's going to be playing for other great coaches on that staff including Steve Kerr. So, these great players, what I've learned through the years is they want to continue to soak up information on how they can become an even better player than they already are. I think that's going to be huge for Jayson."
Also in the new episode: How Celtics can make a Tatum-Beal tandem happen. Which players would the Celtics have to give up to get Beal? Beal on his excitement to play for the U.S. team with Tatum. How will Tatum benefit from being coached by Gregg Popovich? And what are the three biggest question marks for the U.S. men in Tokyo?