As Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics to glorious victories over Brooklyn, former Cs star Paul Pierce is liking what he's seeing.
In a tweet after the Game 3 win, Pierce (also known as 'The Truth') shared a pretty hot take on Twitter, suggesting that the young and relatively inexperienced Tatum is surpassing Durant right before our eyes.
A few years ago, those would have been fighting words. As a 12x All-Star, 9x All-NBA player, and 2x Champion, Durant has already accomplished more than most players could even dream of.
But this series here is proving that Tatum may be ready to take the mantle.
"I don’t think what we’re witnessing is vintage Durant," said one NBA scout. "And what we are witnessing is Tatum and Brown and that group entering their prime, whereas (Durant) is on the back end of the prime. Those guys are not chopped liver, man. I mean, I’ll tell you right now, obviously, I think most people think if you (evaluate) his career that Durant is a better player than (the 24-year-old) Tatum. I mean, if nothing else, it’s the track record. But if you gave me a choice of which one I would take from this point forward, it’s not even close to me. … To me, if you’re watching the game and you didn’t know who these guys were, I’m not watching Durant (and saying), “That’s the best player on the floor.” I’m not so sure Tatum’s not (the best).
Offensively, Tatum is doing pretty well. In 3 games so far, he's averaging 29.7 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds per game on 36% shooting from downtown.
But it's on the defensive end where he has most people impressed. This year, he has really stepped up as a two-way player, and his defense on KD this series has been nothing short of spectacular.
So, is he really taking the crown from Durant? Has he taken up KD's mantle? Just 3 games into the playoffs, it's hard to say. As good as he and his Celtics are doing, they need to make a run to the Finals before they can call this season a success.
Still, at the very least, Tatum deserves some serious props for what he has been doing in the playoffs so far. If he can keep it going, there will be no question that he is right up there with the best.