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Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum Has “Truth” To The Hype

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Jayson Tatum Could Be The Real Deal

The Celtics may have the next Paul Pierce on their hands, in rookie small forward Jayson Tatum. You have probably heard this by now. There’s a preponderance of ambitious comparisons being thrown around. Even Pierce himself has given this promising youngster his valuable endorsement. And well, how can you argue with that?

When a venerated legend, like Paul Pierce, admits that he sees elements of his game in a rookie, it’s okay to be excited. Especially when that rookie is wearing green. Danny Ainge would be absolutely over the moon if his 2017 first-rounder, Jayson Tatum, is able to translate any of this hype into success.

The only question: Is there any “Truth” to the hype?

Apples and Apple Seeds

Jayson Tatum – 6’8” 205lb forward who plays like an undersized center. The Celtics must have seen some inconspicuous talent in this 19-year-old, as they controversially selected him 3rd overall in this year’s draft. Bear in mind that they traded down, from the first pick, to select what was said to be “their guy” with the third.

Boston saw a protest in the streets when this trade was announced. The formidable evaluators on the Celtics staff had to have been unwaveringly sold on this kid. If you take the time to put him under a microscope, it’s easy to see why the C’s were so confident in their “questionable” move.

Tatum only played one year of collegiate D-1 basketball. Given the contemporary stipulations of the CBA, he entered the NBA as soon as he possibly could have. Some may guffaw at the idea of an inexperienced teenager being effective going up against grown men, but the numbers don’t lie.

As a freshman at Duke, Jayson Tatum’s stats were very comparable to Paul Pierce’s stats with Kansas.

Pierce averaged 16.4 PPG and 6.3 REB’s, over the course of his 3 seasons with the Jayhawks. Tatum put up 16.8 PPG, coupled with an impressive 7.3 rebounds per contest, in his only NCAA season. That’s a tick better than Paul Pierce’s college career totals, and it was only Tatum’s first year!

Jayson Tatum also has a selfless inclination to facilitate; his passing is efficient and beyond his age, bordering on clairvoyant. Celtics Head Coach, Brad Stevens, has given him similar compliments in regards to his defensive play. The kid has NBA ready basketball intelligence and he is greatly attuned to the game.

Similar to Paul Pierce’s approach, Tatum’s performance on the court derives from his durable and calloused frame. He bodies people; he pivots with his shoulders to create room, then he decides what the most mathematically sound decision is.

If you go back and watch Paul Pierce, you’ll see that he also knew how to carve out space within double-teams. He never had speed. Pierce had size, but he didn’t have transcendent size. He simply knew how to use his body. This is exactly what Tatum has predicated his basketball career on.  

During the 2017 NBA preseason, Jayson Tatum has shone resplendently, like the future star that he is. Brad Stevens has been giving him just about 23 minutes per scrimmage. When surrounded by a newly-formed super team that’s still trying to stimulate cohesion with each other, that’s not much time. Despite his limited minutes, Jayson Tatum has averaged 8.2 PPG and a little over 4 REB’s. And speaking of cohesion, he’s run the court well with the first-stringers. Tatum has not appeared to be overwhelmed, at all, with the role that he’s been given.

Same Tools, Different Job

Although the resemblance that Jayson Tatum bears to Paul Pierce is undeniably visible, their respective rookie roles will be very different.

When the Celtics drafted Paul Pierce, the team was a reclamation project in deep rebuilding-mode. Therefore a significant portion of the 1998-99 team’s minutes was allocated to the young superstar. He averaged 34 minutes per game, in his first season. Whereas Tatum will presumably be looking at 15-20.

He’ll be competing with more developed teammates, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris, for a time at the forward position. That’s not a bad problem to have; the C’s are stacked with gifted 3’s and 4’s. Brad Stevens happens to be one of the best coaches when it comes to cultivating young talent. So it’s safe to say that Tatum will not be lost in this gauntlet of meritocracy.

As Paul Pierce noted when comparing himself to Tatum, the kid’s drive will ultimately dictate his success in this league. He’s surely not going to be a featured starter right from the get-go. But it seems like he has the resolve to work his tail off, under Stevens’ guidance. With that being said, Celtics fans should get a pretty revealing glimpse at Jayson Tatum’s potential, during the 2017-18 season.

Boston is not asking him to be their Paul Pierce, their franchise, at least not at the moment. But his ability, his basketball IQ, and his physicality suggest that he may have just what it takes to become that type of special player.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

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Boston Celtics

The Good, the Better and the Best

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Well if this wasn’t the worst week in Boston Sports history then I don’t what is. Now that I think of it, this month of October has arguably been the worst month ever, for Boston fans. The Sox are done, the Pats are neck-and-neck with the Jets in the AFC East and the Celtics are currently 0-2. There’s just no salvation to be found!

By now, all of us have fully absorbed the magnitude of Gordon Hayward’s injury. And the prognosis will certainly not put a smile on your face, nor will the trajectory of this Celtics team, as they are still searching for their first win. If that’s not frustrating enough for you, Marcus Smart is out for tonight’s game with an ankle injury.

Man, New England is in dire need of a pick-me-up. Have no fear. I am here to answer the call.

Rather than doing another installment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (where I mostly enumerate the worst things in Boston Sports) let’s do something a little more positive. This city needs a big injection of enthusiasm and I’ve come to provide it.

It’s time for the first ever (and probably only) edition of The Good, the Better and the Best.

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Boston Celtics

Gordon Hayward Likely Out For Season, Celtics Looking For Answers

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Gordon Hayward

Not a shock, but it is looking like Gordon Hayward‘s season is over.

After the completion of his surgery in Boston on Wednesday night, it was being reported that Hayward would likely miss the entire season with his ankle injury.

According to Hayward’s agent Mark Bartelstein Hayward is unlikely to return this season, but that he is expected to ” make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form.”

Of course, there is the chance he returns in some type of playoff-bound scenario, but that thought has to be a long ways away. For the moment it is important to figure out what this team can do this season without an all-star forward in the mix.

This will mean added pressure to superstar guard Kyrie Irving and the longest tenured Celtic Marcus Smart. Even without Hayward this Celtics team still should be in the top of the Eastern Conference conversation like they were last season. They are essentially last years team now with a better point guard.

There will be an overreliance on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But if those two young players can pull through you could see a Celtics team that could be set up better over the long haul than if Hayward was healthy.

Unfortunately for Brad Stevens and company the Boston Celtics have opened their campaign 0-2 and will now look to find themselves moving forward.

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Boston Celtics

The “Green” Lining

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Boston Celtics

Not to understate the solemnity of Gordon Hayward‘s injury, but the Boston Celtics are going to be just fine.

Saying, that without one player, the C’s are done for presupposes that this team is short on talent. It’s not.

When a newly acquired superstar goes down, it’s hard for fans to manufacture any positivity. Especially when such a thing happens during the first quarter of the season-opener. But let’s try to take a look at the implications of Hayward’s injury, without myopic jumpiness.

The 2017-18 season is very far from over for the Celtics. Gordon Hayward dislocating his ankle did not fracture Boston’s playoff hopes.

There are a few reassuring abstractions to be made from the box score of Tuesday night’s game, in which Hayward suffered the gruesome left leg injury.

Yes, the C’s lost to the Cavs 99-102, but this team passionately competed. And they mustered up the resolve to do so with one of their best players being escorted to the hospital.

This fact alone suggests that there are guys on this team who are willing, and able, to attempt to fill Gordon Hayward’s Nikes.

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