NBA

Paul Pierce on Jayson Tatum comparison: "He looks like an older version of me"

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With much of the attention on Lonzo Ball for this upcoming season, the Boston Celtics can make an argument that they drafted the best player in this year's rookie class in Jayson Tatum.

Despite Ball guiding the Los Angeles Lakers to the Summer League championship and winning the MVP, Tatum caught the eye with some impressive and polished performances. 

Those displays saw many compare him to Celtics legend Paul Pierce. Tatum has already admitted that he watched Pierce growing up and developed his game in a similar mould to the future Hall of Famer.

'The Truth' has also weighed in on the comparison and says he sees a lot of himself in the youngster but believes Tatum is way ahead of the stage he was at during his rookie year. 

"He looks like an older version of me, when I started doing the step-back and stuff,” Pierce told CSN's A. Sherrod Blakely. "When I’m watching him, he looks like a mature version of my game, like sixth, seventh, eighth year. He sees the defence. 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."

It's a very interesting admission from Pierce but his advice for the 19-year-old is that talent alone will not take you far in the NBA and wants him to adopt the right mentality in order to be successful.

"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."

The former champion and Finals MVP spent time with the Celtics rookie during a visit to the team's practice facility on Thursday. 

Tatum took to Instagram to post a picture of the two of them together with the caption: "An honor. The Truth."

Pierce revealed one instruction he gave the Duke product during their encounter.

"I left one (banner) behind," Pierce told Tatum. "You gotta fill that one up for me."

The Boston legend will not be putting up any more championship banners but his jersey will be hanging from the rafters after the C's announced that his number 34 will be retired in a special ceremony on February 11 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division

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