Unfortunately, unabashed ignorance is an effective way to get attention as a sports commentator. None of us are immune to it. Sometimes we’re being silly, we’re just wrong, and we’re perhaps even confident in our wrongness.
But it’s also fun to point out when someone is utterly wrong, and Patrick Beverley seems secure in his wrongness about Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum. Because he reacted to J.J. Redick’s inarguable take – that Tatum and Miami’s Jimmy Butler both impact the game at both ends of the floor – as if he hasn’t watched Tatum play basketball at all.
“Jayson Tatum plays both [sides of the basketball]?” Beverley incredulously asks Redick, with a puzzled look on his face. You can watch it in the above clip from ESPN’s “First Take.” Redick responds by asking Beverley if he watched the Celtics-Nets series at all, ie. do you know anything about Tatum’s game?
Because it’s obvious to anyone who’s watched Tatum play this season how much he’s grown as a defender, supplementing his elite offensive skills. He has a chance to develop into perhaps the game’s best two-way player, if he can add All-NBA-caliber defense to his already-superb scoring.
Beverley is a three-time member of the All-NBA Defensive team, so perhaps he’s just a hard grader. Also, Beverley is still playing, so he likely didn’t have much time to watch any other teams while he and the Timberwolves were playing the Grizzlies in the first round. But he basically revealed he doesn’t know much about Tatum period if he thought it was so ridiculous for Redick to say Tatum was a good defender. He looked at Redick like he said the moon is made of Play-Doh.
Credit to Beverley, though, because he got me to blog about him. He probably got a lot of salty Celtics fans to tweet about him, too. And to be fair, maybe now’s not the time to circle the wagons after Tatum and the Celtics lost Game 1 to the Heat and played a historically bad third quarter in the process.
But that’s the name of the game for many now in sports media, especially on TV or the radio or a podcast or Twitter. Don’t be right, don’t be intelligent, just be entertaining. It is what it is. (You can certainly debate how entertaining Beverley is.) It’s not a requirement, because Redick is gaining popularity, too, and is routinely complimented for being a good foil for the likes of Stephen A. Smith. But Beverley’s approach certainly works. His take may be annoyingly dumb, but it worked.
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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at email@example.com.