Bradley Beal says longtime friend Jayson Tatum has become nearly unstoppable

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Chase Hughes
·2 min read
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Bradley Beal says Jayson Tatum has become nearly unstoppable originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Bradley Beal has seen Jayson Tatum's entire trajectory, not just as an NBA player. He has known Tatum since he was a young kid and has watched him grow into a man and an NBA star.

Both players are from St. Louis, MO and went to Chaminade High School where their jerseys have since been retired and now hang in the rafters. They have remained good friends, often training together in the offseason.

On Friday night, the two squared off again on a basketball court and Beal had Tatum as his defensive assignment for much of the night. He played physical, aggressive defense. Yet, Tatum still dropped in shots from all over the court, making it look far easier than many others would.

Tatum is only 22 years old, but he's already that good.

"Oh man, it's a tough guard. It is a tough guard. I've been knowing Jayson since he was in diapers. I always know every time we play that I have the match-up," Beal said. 

"I know him very well. But he's 6-9 and I'm every bit of 6-3. I'm strong and can hold my own, but it comes to a point when, s---, there's nothing you can do."

Tatum is the size of a traditional power forward, but he can make threes at a high clip and drive to the rim, and he has possibly the smoothest and deadliest fadeaway of any player in today's game. At his size, and with a high release, it's essentially unguardable, not unlike Kobe Bryant's and Dirk Nowitzki's were before him.

"All I can do is put my hand up and try to make him work for every basket. That's what I did in the beginning," Beal said. "I tried to make it hard on him, but he still had a great game."

Beal was all over Tatum, but couldn't stop him from scoring 14 points in the first quarter en route to 32 for the game. When guarded by Beal, Tatum shot 14-of-27 (51.9%) on the night overall.

Through 10 games so far this season, Tatum is averaging 26.9 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting a cool 43.8 percent from three on 8.0 attempts per game. His 32 points on Friday helped the Celtics win despite Beal dropping 41 himself.

"He's a basket, he's one of the best players in the league for a reason," Beal said.