Numerous things ran through my head as I saw Danny Ainge gamble away the single greatest asset I have seen him acquire in my entire life: The number one pick in a stacked draft.
Photos and videos of what many considered a franchise-altering point guard in Markelle Fultz circled the internet as he looked at the heroes of Boston’s past such as Larry Bird and Bill Russel.
And while I was unsure of how the point guard situation would work out, I was convinced that Ainge would bring in a kid with the potential to become an All-Star in this league.
Not only did Ainge shock me when he traded it all away for a kid I knew very little about, he shocked the entire league, as many called the move extremely gutsy on his part. Yes Tatum was a very interesting and prized player out of Duke, but could he really be better than Markelle Fultz, the guy who scouts were comparing to a potential James Harden in the future?
Now, two games into summer league play, Danny Ainge has proved once again he knows best, as the prospect he selected at number 3 (Jayson Tatum) has shown flashes of a young Paul Pierce. With his incredible arsenal of post moves and Iso plays, he has shown that he has the tools and demeanor to one day dominate offensively for this ball-club.
And then there’s our prized possession, who has time and time again shown us he wants to be one of the best players in the league in the very near future: Jaylen Brown.
Brown, who has not only hit the gym hard but also worked on his finesse game during the offseason, continues to prove to his doubters that Danny Ainge made the correct decision in selecting him 3rd overall in last year’s draft.
With a man’s body at the young age of 20 years old, Brown looks like a very promising talent moving forward and could be an All-Star as early as 2019, especially if he continues to shoot and drive as confidently as he has shown he could in the past.
So, with this all said, how can this new 7/11 tandem help the Celtics not just in the future, but also in the here and now?
He continues to show us he is a fantastic young prospect who is ready to contribute in some ways offensively, and that should get people really excited. His game continues to be focused on driving to the basket, where Brown excels and usually finishes with authority. His three-point game, however, is an underrated aspect of his game that many people should take note of in his second year as a pro.
Learning from Gordon Hayward shooting wise can only help Jaylen, and the fact that he could get a potential 6th man role due to the probable departure of Jae Crowder can only speed up his development even faster.
I imagine Brad Stevens will use Brown primarily as a change of pace player who can switch onto the other team’s biggest and most often most dangerous weapon on the offensive end (I see you LeBron), and I am extremely excited to see what he can bring to this team this year.
If you haven’t yet seen Jaylen’s impressive highlight reel during his first two games in summer league play this year, I’ll leave the video below for you.
And now, for J.T
Okay get ready because here it goes: I was wrong about this kid.
When I heard that Tatum’s game was largely based on skill and not necessarily athleticism like Jackson, I was a bit upset. Yes, Jackson had his flaws just like any other prospect, but his athleticism and transition game was something I felt we could really use in the team moving forward.
The moment that I saw Tatum play for the first time, however, I was buying my ticket on the hype train because guess what: This kid is going to be GOOD.
Yes he has his little hiccups, especially defensively, but he has shown me he can rebound with the best of them and handle the ball coast to coast. He has a knack for taking some tough shots, and the funny thing is he makes them.
Three pointers, mid-range contested jumpers, fadeaways, you name it. The kid can knock them down.
Take note of the video above, where not only are Tatum’s abilities in the offensive end highlighted, but also his clutch play and cool demeanor. In the final offensive play of the first game he has ever played as a pro for the Celtics, Tatum squared up for a Pierce-esque jumper from the top of the key after his number was called for an ISO. If that’s not poetic justice at the fact that Paul Pierce retired this year, I don’t know what could be.
It was at that point that I realized that he has the potential to start at the four spot in some small ball lineups, especially once he puts on some weight once the season starts. Yes he will have his rookie moments, but he will also have some brilliant offensive displays which will have people salivating at the thought of a Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum tandem in Boston for years to come.
Because of this I say the following: Enjoy our win-now moves like the acquisition of Gordon Hayward. Enjoy this team of hard-working players who can seriously challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers if they can land a rim-protector/rebounder in free agency.
But also be excited for the future, for Ainge has set us up beautifully for the moment LeBron’s knees begin to falter. And by that time our pups will have matured into hounds, and our time will come.
Enjoy the present Boston fans, but looks like we’re in this for the future as well.