Kyrie Irving may no longer have LeBron James to pal around with on the court, but he seems to be truly excited to be out of the King’s shadow.
In talking about his new Boston Celtics teammates during the team’s kickoff party for its new uniforms, Irving had some tremendous words to lob in the direction of rookie No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum.
“He works extremely hard, and, of course, having the luxury of going to Duke and understanding what it’s like to be on a great team and play with good players, and how much you have to sacrifice in order for us to be a great team,” Irving said, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “So the individual goals and the individual talent, we gotta bring the best out of him and we gotta bring the best out of us. Once he figures that out, the sky is the limit for that kid. I’m serious when I tell you guys that that dude is a bad dude. He’s a bad dude.”
Tatum, 19, impressed during the Summer League. The Duke product averaged 17.7 points and 8.0 rebounds. Despite playing just one season of college ball, Boston hopes that the rookie will be able to make an immediate contribution as it looks to knock off Irving’s former team in the Eastern Conference this season.
If the two have indeed built a strong relationship, it will only help Tatum perform up to expectations early in his career. Irving is going to be a ball-dominant guard in 2017-18.
Finding a connection with Tatum could come in handy out of the gate as Irving learns the nuances of a new system and new teammates.