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The Celtics being led by a big, strong and incredibly skilled wing happened not so long ago, with history repeating itself now. In this case, the sequel is even better than the original, as Tatum is on a path to be everything Pierce was and more.
“I see a lot of things Jayson does, how he creates space, gets to the hole deceptively, the way he knocks down shots — he’s a real shotmaker, he can get his shot off on anybody,” Pierce said via Boston.com in 2018. “He’s smart. He uses his body well, the way he pushes off with his shoulder to get an open shot. He has a lot of craftiness to his game, and that probably reminds a lot of people of me.”
Tatum’s numbers over his first six seasons (22.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks, four All-Star appearances) look quite similar to Pierce’s (23.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.9 blocks, three All-Star teams), although the former has been far more efficient (52.9 effective field goal percentage vs. 48.0 percent).
Both stars use/used footwork, body control, tempo and all three levels of scoring to break down opponents. Neither Tatum nor Pierce are viewed as being super athletic, highlighting each’s pure skill level even more.
There’s nothing Tatum can’t be better than Pierce at, however, as he’s already a superior scorer, rebounder and three-point shooter.