Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is coming off a spectacular season in which he became a first-team all-rookie selection and helped guide Boston to the Eastern Conference finals. His first NBA offseason has hardly been a vacation, though. He has worked out with Joel Embiid and Kobe Bryant, held a camp with Kyrie Irving, and relentlessly trained to ensure that mistakes he made last season are not repeated. He spoke to the Globe about all of that and more. Here is a portion of that interview.
Q. You said at the end of last season you were focused on adding strength. How is that going?
A. It’s a little tough right now to gain weight super-fast, but I’ve definitely been working out a lot and I’ve noticed I’ve gotten a lot stronger, so I think that’s most important.
Q. You and 76ers center Joel Embiid share the same trainer, Drew Hanlen. What have the workouts with Embiid been like?
A. It’s cool. Obviously he’s one of the best players, especially best big men, and we kind of have that rivalry between us and Philly. He’s a cool guy. We have the same trainer so just to be in the gym together and just competing against each other is cool.
Q. Is there anything you’ve learned from training with him?
A. Yeah, just his footwork in the post. He moves his feet really well for a big man. That’s something I noticed while working out with him.
Q. Your workout with Kobe Bryant, your childhood idol, got a lot of attention, too. What was that experience like?
A. That was a dream come true. Him always being my favorite player, and getting an opportunity to chat with him and just get in the gym with him, it was a surreal moment.
Q. What’s something you took away from sitting down and chatting with him?
A. Really just getting into his mind-set, how he thought as a player and as a young player, just trying to get better and better each year in the league. [We talked about] what he did to make those things happen and how he was so successful.
Q. What stood out from the workout itself?
A. We just talked about those minor few [footwork] things while we were working out. We did a lot of post moves and things like that, so I had a pretty good feel for everything he showed me, just maybe a few changes here and there.
Q. Did you ever stop and think about how you were working with your idol?
A. Yeah it was crazy, just being in that moment and being in the same gym with him and him teaching me things. I really couldn’t believe it.
Q. You held a kids camp with Kyrie Irving in July and have been in touch this summer. What have you discussed about next season?
A. Just hoping that everyone comes back healthy and stays healthy. I think that’s what everybody in the organization just wishes for. What would it look like when we have our full team? And hopefully it stays like that for the entire season.
Q. Have you gotten a sense of how how Kyrie is feeling now, and what will it be like to have him back at full strength?
A. I talked to him. He’s been feeling great. I’m excited. Obviously he can’t wait to get back out there to be with us, and we can’t wait to have him.
Q. What did you think of him in “Uncle Drew”?
A. It was great. I was happy for him, and it was a really, really good movie. It was pretty funny. It was just cool to see him getting in that different setting.
Q. How do you think Gordon Hayward’s return will help the Celtics?
A. Just another weapon that we really didn’t have at all last year. We’re really excited to have him back, but just to have him at all. We really don’t know what it’s like to play with him. We were the second team in the East and we didn’t have him all season, so it’ll be exciting.
Q. Have you been in touch with him?
A. Not really, but I know he works out with Drew [Hanlen], so I get updates from Drew on how he’s been doing.
Q. What has Drew said?
A. That he’s getting better. Each and every time they work out he looks more and more like himself, and that’s all you can wish for, especially coming off an injury like that.
Q. How will it help you to enter this season being more familiar with what’s expected?
A. Last year I just didn’t know anything at all. I didn’t know what to expect. Now I know what it’s like to play in training camp, be in practice, be in the league, play in the playoffs. So I’ll have a whole different mind-set and level of being comfortable out there.
Q. Is there something you’re hoping to add to your game?
A. Really just upping my game as a whole. I just want to be able to finish more, finish better around the rim, finish through contact. I found myself losing the ball quite a bit last season, especially early in the season.
Q. What do you have to do to play through that contact and keep that ball on those drives?
A. Obviously getting stronger is the key, and knowing how to use my body, knowing what to expect. I have a better idea. I did better in the playoffs than I did in the regular season. As time goes on you just have to feel it out and figure it out.
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.