Celtics

Jayson Tatum's vowed changes to offensive game should thrill Celtics fans

Jayson Tatum's vowed changes to offensive game should thrill Celtics fans

There's a running joke that Kobe Bryant is a double agent sent by the Los Angeles Lakers to sabotage Jayson Tatum.

It was Bryant, after all, who worked out with Tatum on several occasions last offseason and may or may not have contributed to the Boston Celtics forward's newfound habit of chucking long twos.

And after those workouts with Bryant, Tatum registered significant dips in overall field goal percentage (47.5 to 45.0), 3-point field goal percentage (43.4 to 37.3) and effective field goal percentage (53.8 to 50.6) from his rookie year as part of an unfulfilling 2018-19 campaign in Boston.

But the 21-year-old is aware of all this, and apparently he's doing something about it. In an interview with ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Tatum laid out four simple areas he's worked all offseason to improve in.

"Focus on getting to the basket much more," Tatum said told Bontemps. "Shoot more 3s, and layups, and free throws."

Tatum has gotten help from his trainer, Drew Hanlen, who used simple math to convince his client to ditch the inefficient long two.

"I basically said, 'If you just shoot six free throws per game and six 3s per game at the same percentages you did last season, then you'll raise your [scoring] average from 15.7 to 20.7,' " Hanlen told Bontemps. "That makes you an All-Star."

That's no easy task, considering Tatum attempted just 2.9 free throws and 3.9 3-pointers per game in 2018-19. But Tatum should have the freedom to be more aggressive in 2019-20, considering a combined 53.2 shot attempts per game walked out the door this offseason in Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Aron Baynes.

If Tatum approaches that offensive void with the efficient approach he's worked on this offseason, then it's very possible Hanlen's All-Star prediction will come true.

Take that, Kobe.

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NBA trade targets: Notable players now eligible to be dealt before deadline

NBA trade targets: Notable players now eligible to be dealt before deadline

One of the most exciting aspects of each NBA season is the steady stream of rumors and speculation leading up to the trade deadline.

After an unprecedented number of star players found new homes in free agency over the summer, nearly all of those players are now eligible to be traded as of Sunday, Dec. 15. Now that nearly every player in the league can be dealt, the number of trade proposals and rumors discussed and debated should increase quite a bit leading up to the Feb. 6 deadline.

So, which players newly eligible to be dealt are among the most intriguing for title contenders?

Click here for a list of notable NBA players now eligible to be traded>>>

Tremont Waters, Carsen Edwards carry Red Claws in win over Drive

Tremont Waters, Carsen Edwards carry Red Claws in win over Drive

Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters, and Romeo Langford all were in action for the Maine Red Claws again on Sunday vs. the Grand Rapids Drive.

Here's how all four C's rookies fared in Maine's 108-103 victory:

TACKO FALL

It was another quiet night for Fall, who contributed 6 points (2-for-5 shooting), 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 21 minutes.


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CARSEN EDWARDS

Edwards was one of the Red Claws' standout players in this one as the C's No. 33 overall pick had 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting (4-of-8 from 3). He also added 6 steals and 5 assists in his second game with Maine.


ROMEO LANGFORD

Langford played 19 minutes but didn't make much of an impact as he recorded 0 points (0-for-5 shooting) and turned the ball over four times. The Indiana product did, however, notch 2 blocks and 2 steals.


TREMONT WATERS

Waters starred alongside Edwards with 28 points (6-of-11), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. The G League Player of the Month for November continues to thrive as Maine's most consistent player.

Also with standout performances were Kaiser Gates (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Yante Maten (8 points, 13 rebounds).

Next, the Red Claws will visit the Canton Charge on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.