Jayson Tatum is only 20 years old, and playing in his first year in the NBA, but Paul Pierce already sees his potential to become one of the greatest players to wear a Celtics jersey. In an interview with the Boston Herald, Pierce explained why he sees big things down the road for Tatum.
"He’s already off to such a great start," Pierce said. "He’s mature beyond his years. He doesn’t look rattled by the moment." The Truth says that while Tatum has looked unflappable in postseason play, he thought the pressure of the playoffs became too overwhelming for someone like Ben Simmons. With an already depleted roster that was missing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics needed their players to step up and make some noise in the playoffs. Tatum answered the call. He’s averaging 18.4 points per game in the playoffs, as opposed to a regular season average of 13.9 points per game. Following a 24-point performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics are one game away from punching their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Pierce believes Tatum is just giving us a glimpse into his potential with this strong postseason. "[...] if he didn’t have a team full of guys who are really good players and with two All-Stars, he could easily have won Rookie of the Year," he said. "I think he’s just starting to see his potential. He’s just 20 years old and he has a long way to go, but he’s just scratching the surface of how great he can really be." A developing Tatum is a scary addition to an already solid Celtics squad that includes Kyrie, Hayward, Al Horford, and Jaylen Brown for next season.