When Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward went down with injuries, no one expected the Boston Celtics to provide good competition in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. However, the absence of two superstars doesn’t seem to be a major problem for the Celtics as they play in the Eastern Conference Finals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepped up to fill the holes left by Irving and Hayward, and with their impressive performance this season, some people can’t help but compare them to legitimate superstars in the league.
Jayson Tatum, who is currently averaging 18.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, has recently drawn comparisons to Celtics legend Paul Pierce. When he heard of people talking about him and Tatum, Pierce seems to approve their similarities. He went as far as saying that the Celtics rookie is more athletic than him, mainly because of Tatum’s ability to use both of his hands in making shots.
“He has a lot of craftiness to his game, and that probably reminds I lot of people of me,” Pierce told the Boston Globe‘s Chad Finn. “I see it, I definitely do.”
Paul Pierce believes Tatum is going to become a superstar in the league if he continues to improve his game. Another Celtics player that caught Pierce’s attention is Jaylen Brown. With the way he played on the court, Brown reminded Pierce of Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.
“Strong, very athletic in the open court, an improving handle, and now he’s knocking down 3’s with confidence. He is way ahead of the curve.”
— CBS Local Sports (@CBSLocalSports) May 17, 2018
If Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown become the next Paul Pierce and Kawhi Leonard, then the future is really bright for the Celtics. As of now, both young players are demonstrating what they can do for the team in the years to come. The Celtics currently hold a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to Steve Bulpett of Boston Herald, Paul Pierce has strong belief that the outcome of Celtics-Cavs series will have a major effect on James’ decision in the upcoming free agency period. If they fail to beat the Celtics, there is a high possibility that the 33-year-old superstar will leave his hometown team like he did in the summer of 2010. Since Irving was traded to the Celtics, James is carrying the Cavs all by himself.
With his goal to win more NBA championship titles, LeBron may no longer see Cleveland as an ideal place to stay. If James heads West this offseason, the Celtics will have the opportunity to fully dominate the East next season. The only team who are expected to challenge them for Eastern Conference supremacy are the Philadelphia 76ers, who are headed by two young superstars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.