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Defending superstar Jayson Tatum

 When Jayson Tatum came into the League at the age of 19, I never thought a significant number of Celtics fans and analysts would find fault with him. But apparently, that is happening.

I have projected Tatum's ceiling somewhere between Paul Pierce and Larry Bird. Here is the 5th-season comparison between the two Celtics stars. 

Pierce: 25 yrs. - 39.2 MPG - 25.9 PPG - 7.3 RPG - 4.4 APG - 1.8 SPG - 0.8 BPG - 42%FG/30%3s/80%FT

Tatum: 23 yrs. - 36.6 MPG - 25.5 PPG - 8.3 RPG - 3.8 APG - 1.0 SPG - 0.8 BPG - 42%FG/33%3s/84%FT

Damn close, isn't it. The Truth didn't achieve his one-and-only Title until season #10, at the age of 30. Bringing in Ray Allen helped a lot, and acquiring Kevin Garnett was a mammoth move for Danny Ainge. 

Jayson is truly a franchise player and needs to remain in Boston. To me, he is still a kid that has weathered turmoil surrounding Danny Ainge acquisitions, that because of injury or ego,  backfired. Then came COVID and the accompanying hardships. These are not excuses aimed at Tatum's detractors - but actual facts.

This kid came to the NBA as a scorer, and he is that to the core. But he has learned to share the ball, in addition to becoming a fierce rebounder. He has toughened his body and his mind. Will he become the hero the Celtics are seeking? Hell, losses aside, I believe he already is that hero. I will finish with Bonnie Tyler's "Holding out for a hero":.

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn
And I dream of what I need
I need a hero


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