Kevin Durant says Jayson Tatum will ‘control the league’ for the next decade

Getting praise from Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, considered one of the best players in the NBA since he first entered the league sixteen seasons ago is a worthy accolade; however, the recognition that Durant gave to Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum before the two’s matchup on Thursday night at the TD Garden was more than just simple praise — according to Durant himself, his laudation of Tatum is the “passing of the guard.”

Durant spoke with The Arizona Republic prior to the Celtics/Suns game on Thursday (which the Celtics would eventually go on to win 127-112) and shared his thoughts on the colossal impact Tatum will continue to have on the league in the future.

โ€œIโ€™ve been in this league a long time now and I know when itโ€™s a passing of the guard,โ€ Durant said. โ€œI know when the young dudes are going to come in and do the same thing the older guys are doing. Heโ€™s one of those guys thatโ€™s likely going to control the league for the next 10, 12 years and be a staple in our game and the history of our game.โ€

Jayson Tatum/YouTube

Tatum, who is only 26-years-old, has played for seven seasons in his NBA career thus far, all with the Boston Celtics. He has averaged 23 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in that time. He’s been selected to the NBA All-Star team four times; in the 2023 All-Star Game he scored a record-setting 55 points. Also of note for Tatum is that he has helped lead the Celtics to four Eastern Conference Finals as well as one NBA Finals series. He has 52 wins in his playoff career as well. Tatum will have another chance to bolster his playoff career stats in the 2024 postseason as well, as the Celtics’ win over the Suns on Thursday improved their overall record to 52-14 and made them the first NBA team to clinch a playoff spot.

In the past, Tatum has expressed similar respect for Durant as a player.

โ€œThatโ€™s like a brother to me,โ€ Tatum told reporters in Brooklyn following a playoff game between the two when Durant played for the Brooklyn Nets in 2022. โ€œSomebody Iโ€™ve gotten really close with. Obviously competed against a lot in the playoffs recently. Known since I was in high school, won a gold medal with, worked out with a lot this summer. So somebody that I respect a lot, you know. We talk often. And those matchups always you enjoy. Somebody that has played at a high level โ€” the highest level โ€” for as long as he has. Brings the best out of you. So you always enjoy those matchups with one of the best players to ever play.โ€

Do you agree with Kevin Durant that Jayson Tatum will ‘control the league’ for the next decade? Let us know in the comments.

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