The Boston Celtics, despite losing in the 2022 NBA Finals, have all the makings of a contending team, especially when they have two of the best wings in the NBA in a league driven by those exact archetype of players. Wings who do it all on both ends of the floor are worth their weight in gold, and for the Celtics to have two of them in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown? That makes them the envy of the association — especially when they're on the cusp of winning the franchise's 18th championship after going up 3-0 in the 2024 NBA Finals against the overmatched Dallas Mavericks.

In fact, with Tatum and Brown inching closer to securing their legacy as NBA champions, analysts are surely ready to bump up that superstar Celtics duo in their all-time rankings. But for Paul Pierce, this truth was clear two years ago. Pierce, who bleeds green, proudly declared in 2022 that the duo of Tatum and Brown was the NBA's best, “hands down”, and he's looking very prescient with that bold proclamation of his.

“NBA Best Duo Tatum and Brown hands down,” Pierce wrote on his official Twitter (X) account back on October 19, 2022.

There is a sense that some media members and fans pit Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown against one another; it's as if the Celtics have to choose between one or the other. That, however, is rather foolish.

Tatum and Brown have clear complementary strengths, with the former being a better shooter off the bounce and a much more polished ball-handler, and the latter a more relentless on-ball defender and slasher, and, surrounded by perhaps the league's best supporting cast of shooters and defenders, their talents have never been more accentuated.

Paul Pierce is called the truth for a reason, and if the Celtics do finish off the Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals, there is little argument to be had against the idea that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown comprise the best duo in the league at the moment.

Paul Pierce, NBA champion with the Celtics, gifted them Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown

Paul Pierce's greatest contribution to the Celtics franchise will forever be his performance that led the team to a championship back in 2008; all Pierce needed was some All-NBA-level help, and with Kevin Garnett anchoring the defense and Ray Allen waxing hot from beyond the arc, Pierce was free to play his best brand of basketball, which netted him the 2008 Finals MVP award.

Pierce played 15 seasons with the Celtics and he made the All-Star team 10 times during his stretch with the team. He averaged 22-6-4 with Boston, putting up consistent numbers throughout his tenure with the franchise — even during the period after he fought for his life after he was stabbed 11 times back in 2000.

The Truth, as he's affectionately called, in true Celtics legend fashion, delivered one last contribution for the franchise on his way out. With the Celtics pivoting to a rebuild back in 2013, they traded franchise icon Paul Pierce, along with Kevin Garnett, to the Brooklyn Nets for a boatload of draft picks, which included the picks that became the third overall selection in 2016 and first overall pick in 2017.

While the trade immediately became laughably lopsided, the degree to which the Celtics won that trade wouldn't become clear until later on, when the Celtics drafted Jaylen Brown in 2016 and then traded down in 2017 so they could select Jayson Tatum — setting themselves up for sustainable contention for the next decade.

The Celtics, since 2016, made the Eastern Conference Finals six times and made the NBA Finals twice, and they have weathered the storm of a few failed rosters — thanks in large part to the presence of Tatum and Brown.

During this time period, the Celtics have seen the Kyrie Irving acquisition blow up in their face, Gordon Hayward sustain a serious injury that never allowed him to return to All-Star form, and Kemba Walker suffer a massive injury-related decline that had him out of the league just one season after he left the Celtics.

This past offseason, they traded away 2023 Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, dealt away heart and soul Marcus Smart, who is a former Defensive Player of the Year, and Robert Williams III — a man who gave it his all during the 2022 NBA Finals.

But even with the Celtics' changing supporting cast, they have remained one of the league's best teams with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way. And it would not have been possible had Paul Pierce, who was the best player at the time of the trade in 2013, wasn't deemed by the Nets as the missing piece to what they mistakenly thought was a championship roster,