Boston-04/09/21 Boston Celtics vs Timberwolves-Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) was given the game ball after scoring 53 points in the game. Photo by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff (sports)

Gregg Popovich worked with Jayson Tatum throughout his coaching stint with Team USA starting in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The Spurs’ and Team USA coach explained how Tatum became more than a two-way player since then, and how this impacted Pop’s selection this year.

(via Mass Live):

“During that (2019) camp and from that time to now, under Brad’s tutelage, he’s become more of a two-way player,” Popovich said after Team USA’s first practice on Tuesday. “He’s way more confident, he’s developed more skills, he’s, on top of that, more aggressive and he knows he can dominate people. He’s much different going into this situation than before.”

Tatum has gradually become the Boston Celtics’ franchise player, a key piece, which the Celtics need to build around in order to return to contention.

Jayson Tatum will be the first active Celtic to be a member of Team USA basketball team in the Olympics later this month in Tokyo since Larry Bird in 1992.