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Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum

3 former stars who were a lot like Jayson Tatum at his age

The Jayson Tatum coming out party for the Boston Celtics is in full swing in the ongoing 2020 NBA playoffs.

Following a rather lackluster sophomore run where his play regressed from his brilliant rookie season, the promising Duke alum finally met those high expectations this season.

Tatum made the first of possibly multiple All-Star appearances last February, after tallying significant improvements across the board.

The 6-foot-8 swingman notched career-highs of 23.4 points on 45 percent shooting from the field and 40.3 percent from three, along with seven 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.4 steals in 66 regular-season games.

Tatum’s emergence helped the C’s secure the third-best record in the Eastern Conference at 48-24.

He was even better once the postseason started, and was a big reason behind the Celtics’ first-round sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics have now gone past the first round in the last three years since they drafted Tatum.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James once dubbed Tatum as “The Problem”, and he has certainly been giving opposing teams headaches each night.

Despite the running online joke that Jayson Tatum is “just 19 years old”, the St. Louis, Missouri-native actually turned 22 last March.

Judging by some of the numbers of previous All-star players when they were Tatum’s age, the Celtics winger certainly has a bright future ahead of him.

Here are three retired NBA stars who were a lot like Jayson Tatum at 22.

Paul Pierce

The jury is still out if Jayson Tatum will one day join the ranks of the all-time greats whose jerseys hang atop the TD Garden Arena. But one thing is for sure, Tatum has been Boston’s best small forward since Paul Pierce.

The Truth bled green for 15 seasons and was a big part of the Celtics’ last championship in 2008, where he was also named Finals MVP.

While Tatum was picked by Boston 3rd overall in 2017, the highly-touted Pierce somehow managed to drop to the Celtics’ laps at the 10th pick in the 1998 draft. Pierce was also in a similar situation as Tatum was in his rookie year, as he joined a young and inexperienced Celtics roster bannered by Antoine Walker.

That Pierce-Walker connection certainly looks a lot like the Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown wing tandem that the current Celtics team has.

Pierce was in his sophomore season at age 22 and notched similar numbers to Tatum. The now analyst for ESPN tallied 19.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.1 steals in 1999-2000 season.

Tracy McGrady

As far as body type and play style goes, Jayson Tatum does show a lot of Tracy McGrady in his game. They are both dynamic scorers, whose length and athleticism could impact both sides of the floor.

Tatum, however, was already a hyped prospect entering the draft following his amazing one-and-done stint with the Blue Devils. McGrady, on the other hand, had to work his way up just to cement his place as one of the most lethal scorers of all time.

By age 22, T-Mac posted superior numbers over Tatum, norming 25.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists,    and 1.6 steals for the Orlando Magic.

However, the basketball Hall of Famer was already in his 5th season by that time, since he came to the league so young as a prep-to-pro prospect. Judging by McGrady’s third year (where he recorded 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 steals) Tatum was better at the time.

T-Mac had his breakout party the following year when he moved to Orlando.

Seeing as to how good Tatum is now, all signs point out to him having a T-Mac like career down the line. (Hopefully, minus the injuries). Tatum will have an even better one if he manages to win at least one title along the way.

Jerry Stackhouse

Stackhouse certainly is a player who many believe could have had a much better career had things went differently. Still, Stack was a two-time All-Star and was considered a terror for opposing defenses in his early years.

Stackhouse was in year three by age 22 and was already tearing up the rest of the competition, with averages of 20.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Tatum, however, was the more efficient shooter, as the North Carolina product only shot 40.7 percent from the field and 29.8 from downtown.

Like Tatum, Stackhouse also hit some sort of a wall, as his numbers dropped by his third and fourth year with the Philadelphia 76ers. He bounced back after changing scenery with the Detroit Pistons and was one of the top scorers in the league in the early 2000s.

Stack, however, didn’t see some postseason action up until his fourth year, while Jayson Tatum has never missed it so far in his first three years.