When a player is selected third overall in the NBA draft, the fan base tends to set some lofty expectations for said player. This appears to be true for Jayson Tatum.
After on year with the Duke Blue Devils, the 19-year-old was considered an NBA-ready player. Plus, the Celtics really built up the hype for him when they said the player they would have selected first overall should still be available at three and we all know they weren’t talking about Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. At least Tatum’s family would never do this in public:
Tatum played well in the NBA Summer League and for some reason, he is already drawing comparisons to Celtics legend Paul Pierce…
Yes. He hasn’t played in an NBA game yet, but he is already getting Paul Pierce comps.
Admittedly, Pierce seems to like Tatum. ESPN asked him about the rookie and here is what he had to say.
“I like the kid Tatum,” Pierce told ESPN. “I see a lot of offensive potential. A lot of these guys coming in, they get compared to past greats: the Kobe Bryants, the Shaqs (Shaquille O’Neal) and whoever. The difference that separates the guys from the past is the mentality they brought to the game.”
“You can say, ‘Oh he plays like Kobe,’ or, ‘Oh he plays like Paul with the jumper,’” he added (by Kobe he means Kobe Bryant). “But what people don’t understand is the mentality we carry, the toughness, the grit and that killer instinct. Those are the traits you can’t just install into a player.”
You know what? The 10-time All-Star is absolutely right. There’s guarantee Tatum ends up being a superstar even if a lot of people like him now. There’s just so much that can happen to a guy over the course of their career. For example, first overall pick Greg Oden never panned out because of injuries. In contrast, Pierce got stabbed several times prior to one of the Celtics’ seasons and he didn’t miss a game and was great throughout the year.