Tatum doesn't blame Kobe's tutelage for sophomore slump
Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty Images

There were high hopes for Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum after completing an impressive rookie campaign and spending the 2018 offseason working with Kobe Bryant.

The 21-year-old failed to make the leap in his sophomore campaign, however, and the root of his struggles seemed to stem from a Bryant-like, heavy mid-range game. But Tatum refuses to blame his down season on the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

"I'm still going to shoot the mid-range," Tatum said Friday, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. "I've seen all the people talking about the 'de-Kobeing.' Kobe didn't teach me anything bad. Everything we talked about and he showed me was great.

"Last year, with the jump I didn't make that everybody expected, it was not his fault. He's one of the greatest ever, so everything he taught me was - I'm very grateful, and it helped me. I've got to take responsibility for how I played last year."

Tatum's field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage dropped last season. He attempted 238 long mid-range jumpers and 409 mid-range shots overall in 2018-19, which ranked in the 95th and 87th percentile, respectively, among forwards, according to Cleaning the Glass.

This time around, Tatum's offseason training program has emphasized attacking the rim and replacing long 2-point jumpers with 3-pointers.

"Last year was kind of funky in all aspects," Tatum said, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "I understand that. I acknowledge that, and I'm just trying to be better this year. ... Focus on getting to the basket much more. Shoot more threes and layups and free throws."

Tatum doesn't blame Kobe's tutelage for sophomore slump
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