NBA Rumors: Kobe Bryant Questions Lakers’ Decision To Draft Lonzo Ball Over Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum may be a member of the Boston Celtics, but the player he grew up idolizing came from their rival team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Tatum’s long-time skills trainer, Drew Hanlen, admitted that his player is trying to replicate Kobe Bryant’s performance on the court. Recently, the former third overall pick was given the opportunity to work out with the Lakers legend to further learn the “Mamba Mentality.”

In a recent appearance on The Sidelines with Evan Daniels, as reported by USA Today Sports, Drew Hanlen revealed some intriguing details on what happened during the workout between Kobe Bryant and Jayson Tatum. Hanlen said that Bryant was impressed with how Tatum moves inside the court. After personally seeing him play, Bryant was wondering why the Lakers didn’t use the No. 2 overall pick to acquire Tatum in the 2017 NBA Draft.

“It was cool. We actually showed Kobe it yesterday, and he was like, ‘Why didn’t the Lakers draft him?’ Which was pretty funny after seeing that. Jayson idolized Kobe.”

Despite his comments, Kobe Bryant still believes in Lonzo Ball and what he can contribute to the Lakers’ franchise. However, according to Josh Martin of Lonzo Wire, Bryant might be seeing more superstar potential on Tatum than Ball.

“It’s understandable, then, that Kobe might wish his favorite team had instead taken Tatum. Though Bryant can probably appreciate Zo’s preternatural passing ability and nose for the ball on both ends of the floor, he can see in Tatum a more striking mirror image of his own game and the greatness it precipitated.”

Based on their performance in the 2017-18 NBA season, there is no doubt that Jayson Tatum is the better player than Lonzo Ball. Tatum, who finished third in the 2018 Rookie of the Year voting, was one of the players who led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, despite losing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward due to injury. In the 80 games he played last season, Tatum averaged 13.9 points, five rebounds, and one steal on 47.5 percent shooting from the field, and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball has gone through ups and downs in his rookie season where he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.7 steals on 36 percent shooting from the field, and 30.5 percent from the three-point line. Despite his inconsistencies, the Lakers still see Ball as part of their long-term plan. Being a pass-first point guard, Ball is expected to be a better fit for the Lakers now that LeBron James is playing on the team.