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Can Tatum compete with Bird's label as "master of the half-inch"?

 Celtics legend, Tommy Heinsohn, gave Larry Bird the label of "master of the half-inch". Tommy was referring to Larry's ability to almost-always get a good shot off in heavy traffic. Jayson Tatum has a similar ability, but there is one major difference preventing Jayson from approaching Bird's unique skill.


Larry could get his shot off, even with a defender almost literally in his shirt - but he could accomplish the feat both away from, as well as under, the hoop. The Birdman never possessed an outstanding physique or superior physical strength, but he always seemed to know where his body was with respect to his teammates and defenders. 

Tatum can maneuver and get his shot off away from the hoop, from long distance and in the mid-range area, but he can not yet do the same in a crowd under the hoop. That fact separates the two stars in this respect. 

Jayson is the better athlete when comparing the two stars, but Larry's savvy, anticipation and deception remain superior to what Jayson has shown. You don't read about it much, but it was Bird's art-of-deception that often separated him from other NBA stars. He could fool any defender - at any time.

If Tatum has not already done so, he should watch footage of Larry scoring in a crowd under the hoop. Mastering the art of getting a good shot off with only a "half-inch" of open space would be his goal.


Comments

  1. Tom spot on here. Larry's ability to be deceptive and out think most players puts him in a special category. If Tatum has that foresight he should sit down and watch highlights on Larry. Larry is never given enough credit by today's players in how damn good he was. Since Tatum is part of the Jordan Brand, MJ could certainly tell JT how lethal Larry was and to study his game over Kobe's.

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