A promising rookie season that included a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals made most people believe that Jayson Tatum is set to blossom into an All-Star caliber talent in his second year with the Boston Celtics. The 21-year-old small forward has somewhat managed to show improvements with his overall performance, but it’s far from what everyone expected. Since the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Tatum has struggled and is noticeably uncomfortable with his new role.
In a recent interview with Steve Bulpett of Boston Herald, Celtics legend Paul Pierce defended Jayson Tatum from his critics, reminding them that he’s only 21 and just in his second season in the NBA. Pierce also expressed his willingness to personally train Tatum. Pierce said that he “probably will talk” to Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge about the possibility of working out with Tatum in the 2019 NBA offseason.
“Me and Kevin (Garnett) talked about it when he went down there, but that’s something I would love to do. I probably will talk to Danny.”
With the emergence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, some people believe that Jayson Tatum needs to learn how to efficiently play in an off-ball capacity if he wants to succeed in Boston. However, Pierce has another idea in mind. Pierce believes that Tatum can immediately turn into an All-Star caliber player if he drives more.
“Just those little things right there, getting to the hoop and getting to the line. For a guy with his athleticism, his skill set and his ballhandling, his height, he should be a guy that gets to the line at least six times a night and makes five out of six. That’ll take him from a 16-point scorer to a 20-point scorer, and he’ll be in the conversation for All-Star every year on a winning team.”
Jayson Tatum definitely has what it takes to become a legitimate NBA superstar in the league. However, it remains unknown if Tatum is still wearing the Celtics uniform when that time comes. When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, the Celtics are planning to make an offer to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Anthony Davis. In a potential deal that would send Davis to Boston, the Celtics will likely need to use Tatum as the main trade chip.
Despite the things that he can accomplish with the Celtics, Paul Pierce believes that it might be best for Jayson Tatum to be traded somewhere else. Pierce thinks that Tatum’s “whole skill set” will only be unleashed when he goes to another team where he can be the main man. Pierce used James Harden as the perfect example of the man Tatum could become. From being the sixth man in Oklahoma City, Harden turned into one of the best active players in the NBA when he was traded to the Houston Rockets.