Jay Larranaga Rumors
There were plenty of safety rules in place, and it made the environment different. There is usually a coterie of observers and helpers when Tatum is shooting jump shots. Maybe two coaches to rebound, another to offer instruction, and sometimes even a member of the medical staff to oversee it all. But in this case, there was just assistant coach Jay Larranaga, wearing a mask and gloves and wondering whether he still had the legs to chase down the errant shots all by himself. “I’m lucky Tatum doesn’t ever miss,” Larranaga said. “So I just stay under the hoop. He looks like he’s in midseason form right now.”
Despite that uncertainty, there did not ever appear to be a time when Tatum lost his focus, according to Larranaga. “It’s frustrating when you’re in the midst of a really great season and having the responsibility that he likes and has wanted to have on the team,” Larranaga said. “It’s frustrating to have the season interrupted. “But he’s a pretty amazing athlete and player that, regardless of circumstance, regardless of if he’s able to work out or takes a few days off, his consistency day-to-day is pretty extraordinary.”
“I think there’s some things from Allan Houston’s game that Jayson can use,” Larranaga said. “And Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was like Steph Curry before Steph Curry, and a lot of players in the NBA today might not even know who he is.”
Larranaga is constantly demanding and encouraging. Smart is constantly pushing and accepting direction. And no matter what they’re working on, there’s a dap in between. There’s a thing with these two. It goes beyond the typical coach-player connection. The way they work together, the way the dap each other, the way they communicate; there’s a bond. “Jay’s been a big help for me,” Smart said. “He spent countless hours out of his day, out of his life, out of his family’s life to spend with me.” It started two years ago, when they spent a summer together in Miami. The bond was built through hard work, arguments, philosophical challenges and an understanding that both were working toward a common goal.
Boston lost the next two games, ending their season, but the series began Smart’s journey towards becoming a better shooter. “Coming off that season,” Larranaga said, “he really wanted to take his game to another level, physically, skill-wise.” Smart planned on working out in Miami that summer. Larranaga saw an opportunity to help, especially since he had access to the practice facility at the University of Miami, where his father, Jim, is the head coach. “I talked to Brad,” Larranaga said. “I said… I’d like to try to devote this summer to help Marcus just continue to grow as a young player.” “He came down and spend the whole summer with me working,” Smart said. “So, we got that bond and I trust him with everything he says to make sure he’s setting me up for success.”