Walter McCarty played with Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce for six-plus seasons, and he sees some of “The Truth” in C’s rookie forward Jayson Tatum.
Now, the Pierce comparisons with Tatum are nothing new, but McCarty, who’s now an assistant coach on Brad Stevens’ staff in Boston, provided an in-depth look at the two players in a conversation with The Vertical’s Chris Mannix.
“He really reminds me of Paul Pierce,” McCarty said. “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.”
“He just has a natural ability to score,” McCarty added. “Right hand, left hand, rise up and finish, shoot over you. He has it all. The footwork is impeccable. The one-legged jump shots, the step-throughs, the in-and-outs. He really has a chance to be special. And he wants to be a great.”
Tatum made his own highlight reel during the NBA Summer League, one that included a game-winner and several other impressive shots. He also was voted to the second team All-Summer League for his play.
Even though he’s a rookie, Tatum figures to be an important part of the Celtics’ rotation next season. All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas and free-agent acquisition Gordon Hayward are Boston’s only players capable of creating their own shot in any situation.
The bench will need to score when Thomas and Hayward are either struggling or resting, and Tatum’s all-around offensive game should play a huge role in that area. The Celtics also need to replace the production of departed role players Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko. Tatum, as a good outside shooter, should be able to fill that void.
It’s easy to get carried away by Summer League play. but Tatum did look really good, and fair or not, expectations for him are higher because of it.
Thumbnail photo via Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports Images