By Yagev Levi
When Danny Ainge traded the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to the 76ers for the third overall pick and, what is now, Sacramento’s 2019 first round pick, many thought he was crazy. Coming out of college, Tatum was a sensational player, projected top 5 pick but many saw him as incomparable to Markelle Fultz. Coming out of his freshman year at Washington University, Fultz was believed to be a once-in-a-decade type of talent, the definitive number one pick. Danny Ainge was not one of those believers. He made the trade with Philadelphia, the Celtics selected Jayson Tatum third overall, and the rest is history.
Tatum’s rookie year was full of milestones, broken records, and oos and aws. The city of Boston instantly fell in love with this transcendent young scorer who couldn’t help leaving people wide eyed, in aw of the raw talent he brought with him at just 19 years old. This eventually led to remarkable comparisons between him and legendary players such as, Paul Pierce and, yes, Kobe Bryant.
This is where the overhype starts.
As much as I love Jayson Tatum, after one season in the league, there is no reason to compare Tatum to THE Kobe Bryant. People can create montage videos showing how Tatum’s basketball style of play is similar to that of Kobe Bryant’s but I’ve seen the same type videos comparing Devin Booker among other young scorers; it means nothing. Adding on, people can get excited about Tatum practicing with Kobe, yes that is very exciting, but that should not add to the Kobe Bryant comparisons. A handful of young NBA players constantly practice with veterans over the offseason as they continue to perfect their craft. Tatum’s workouts with Kobe are no different from Jaylen Brown’s workouts with Tracy McGrady.
All in all, I do believe that one day Jayson Tatum will be as good as Kobe. I believe Tatum is going to be the next Celtics legend, and his number 0 will be the next number retired after Kevin Garnett. This upcoming season is going to be huge for him. He’ll finally get to play alongside Gordon Hayward who I believe, he is going to learn a lot from. The Celtics locker room is going to be a special place with Kyrie, Hayward, and Horford mentoring all the young bulls on this Celtics roster and I know Tatum will thrive. If Tatum plays up to the hype, he’ll be regarded as a top 15 player in the league after this year. If he doesn’t, Tatum’s development may take a slight step back which will cause him and Jaylen Brown to start splitting minutes in order for Rozier to buy into the rotation more. I am confident in the former. I believe that Tatum is going to become the third option on this team by the end of the season, if not the second, and he will play a huge part in the Boston Celtics becoming the 2019 NBA Champions.