“We’re excited to have Ime. A couple of us spent some time with him at USA Basketball in 2019, so there’s some familiarity there with him. And it’s kind of a fresh start.”
Despite Team USA falling short at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, there seems to be an optimism around the players and fans, which was further buoyed by Udoka’s comments on his coaching style and what he has planned for Tatum and young All-Star teammate Jaylen Brown.
Ime Udoka: “I want to tell Jayson and Jaylen: ‘The fact that you aren’t All-NBA should be a chip on your shoulder. Why wait? Go out and take it now.’ That’s a message I shared with Kawhi Leonard when we were pushing him to become a championship caliber player in San Antonio.”
– Keith Smith June 28, 2021
However, it may be best to finally drop the “Young” label from discussions involving Tatum moving forwards. “Well, I’ve played with Kyrie and have seen him make some tough shots.” When pressed for any other players, it was inevitable that Tatum would answer with “I think Dame, yeah either Dame or Kyrie.”
Lillard is currently subject to intense media speculation, with some reports stating the All-Star guard is leaning towards asking for trade. With Tatum naming him as one of the players he would trust most in a game-winning situation, and the pair about to embark on Team USA’s Olympics journey, speculation about a Lillard-to-Boston trade could continue to intensify.