Paul Pierce: Jayson Tatum has ‘the mentality’ and ‘competitive nature’ to be great

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 09: Jayson Tatum
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 09: Jayson Tatum /

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce likes what he sees in rookie Jayson Tatum because he reminds him a lot of himself.

If Boston Celtics fans couldn’t get more excited about rookie Jayson Tatum, Paul Pierce has now added some fuel to the hype train.

In an exclusive interview with CSN, the 10-time All-Star and Celtics legend made some interesting comments about the former Duke star.  Not only did he compare Tatum to himself, but said he has the trait to be great in the NBA.

First, about those comparisons

The similarities between Jayson Tatum and Paul Pierce have been noted before, but now No. 34 himself have confirmed he sees a lot of himself in the kid.  In fact, he feels Tatum is a more mature version of the player he was entering the league, especially as a scorer.

"“He looks like an older version of me, when I started doing the step-back and stuff,” Pierce said in the exclusive interview.  “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.”"

Fans got a glimpse of the maturity in Tatum’s game right off the bat in the team’s first summer league game.  The No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft hit a buzzer beater shot similar to the way Pierce closed out games even late in his career.

Can’t and wouldn’t argue with Pierce there. 

Related Story: Jayson Tatum showing reminders of Kobe Bryant

A special talent

With the amount of talent entering the NBA every season, Paul Pierce noted some things about Jayson Tatum that will set him apart in the league.  Not to put too much pressure on the kid, but Pierce went on to say that Tatum has similar traits as himself and Kobe Bryant (a player Tatum models his game after).

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Those traits, in Pierce’s opinion, will led the way in towards stardom.

"“The thing I see, what makes the guy special, there’s a lot of talent in the league.  There’s no question about it,” Pierce said.  “Your mentality, your drive, how great you want to be, that’s what separates the good from the great ones.  You look at guys from the past, like Kobe (Bryant’s) determination, his competitive spirit.  You see guys that were just as talented, they didn’t have the same competitive spirit so they could not reach the levels of other greats.”"

Pierce once again praised Tatum’s maturity as a reason he believes he will not become one of those high-talent players who fade in the NBA.

And if it sounds like the Boston Celtics great is passing on the baton, that’s because he is.  In the interview, he also reflects on the banner he left behind and looks to Jayson Tatum to help bring banner No. 18 to the city of Boston.

Next: Boston Celtics: 3 greatest games of Paul Pierce’s career in green

Hopefully a few more banners as well.