"He looks like an older version of me, when I started doing the step-back and stuff," Pierce said, per A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England. "When I’m watching him, he looks like a mature version of my game, like sixth, seventh, eighth year. He sees the defense. He knows what’s going to happen before it happens. He understands his position, footwork, his step-back (jumper) is there. His offensive repertoire seems complete. The sky is the limit for that kid."
Even the notion Tatum could resemble Pierce—who was a 10-time All-Star and won the 2008 NBA Finals MVP while leading the Celtics to a championship—should be music to the ears of Boston fans.
The Celtics took Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick out of Duke after he averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his one season with the Blue Devils.
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It is not the first time Tatum has been compared to Pierce as a forward who can extend his game beyond the three-point line or create his own shot.
"He really reminds me of Paul Pierce," Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty said, per Chris Mannix of The Vertical. "With the footwork and how he scores, just lulling you to sleep. With Paul, he could get to his shot no matter who was guarding him. Tatum plays the same way."
Pierce developed into a Celtics leader and go-to option, but Tatum won't play that role as a rookie considering he will share the floor with Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. However, if he provides Pierce-like support to the primary trio of stars, the Celtics will have a much better chance to oust the Cleveland Cavaliers in a potential Eastern Conference Finals rematch.