Celtics

That 617 Life Podcast: Is Jayson Tatum already a superstar?

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That 617 Life Podcast: Is Jayson Tatum already a superstar?

Over the course of the past month, Jayson Tatum has been putting up big-time numbers for the Boston Celtics. He has averaged 28.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game over his last 10 outings for the C's and has done a lot to back up his All-Star status.

As Tatum continues to improve, it's becoming increasingly clear that he is one of the most talented young players in the league. But there are a couple of questions gnawing at the minds of many NBA fans.

Is Tatum actually a superstar? Or is he merely on the path toward being one and showcasing that upside in this prolonged and productive stretch?

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On the latest episode of That 617 Life Podcast, hosts Leroy Irvin and Cerrone Battle took a deep dive into those important questions and offered their thoughts on Tatum.

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Battle, for one, was ready to call Tatum a superstar and stated that his performance against LeBron James and the Lakers helped to further put him on the map.

I think Jayson Tatum is getting to that level. I think he's already there. And what it takes too -- he done already lit up Giannis. He lit up Kawhi. And he lit up LeBron James. Who else is he supposed to catch? He got Kawhi, the All-Star game, and LeBron James all in a week and a half. People are seeing it and it's like, this dude he is a superstar. And [being a] superstar, it's not about your game. It's how people perceive you. Are you box office? Do people turn on the TV and say 'What's Tatum doing tonight?' That's a superstar.

And Battle actually went even further and spoke of Tatum's ceiling. He said that the 21-year-old Celtics star could have a chance to develop into a Kevin Durant-type player.

I think the ceiling for him -- I know people are going to kill me for this, but I think the ceiling for him is Kevin Durant. I think he's on that same path. Their style of play is the same.

Battle would go on to say that he believes Durant is the best player in the NBA, so needless to say, comparing Tatum to him is a massive compliment.

For more on Tatum's rise to superstardom and where he ranks among the NBA's best, you can click here to listen and subscribe to That 617 Life Podcast.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

It's a matter of when, not if, Jaylen Brown will be an NBA All-Star

It's a matter of when, not if, Jaylen Brown will be an NBA All-Star

BOSTON -- We should have seen this coming from Jaylen Brown. 

It’s not like he didn’t clue us in to how he was built differently than most players coming into the NBA. 

His first NBA start came against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, a game in which Brown showed absolutely no nerves, anxiety or fear of James as he went on to score a then-career-high 19 points in what was his fifth game as a pro. 

From there, Brown continued to show flashes of being an above-average talent, displaying an innate ability to successfully transition to whatever role he’s cast to play. 

With the NBA season at a standstill now, it provides us an opportunity to take in what Brown has done thus far. 

More significantly, it allows us to take inventory on what Brown’s body of work thus far tells us is on the horizon. 

The 23-year-old Brown is on course to establish himself as an All-Star whose strength lies in his versatility to impact the game at both ends of the floor. 

This season, Brown is averaging 20.3 points per game, joining teammates Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker as part of the only trio of NBA teammates this season with each averaging at least 20 points per game. 

Of that threesome, Brown’s inclusion is the most surprising when you consider it wasn’t a given that he would start, let alone drop 20 points a night, at the start of the season. 

A legit case could be made that Brown should have been an All-Star this season, with some surmising a top-two record by the Celtics prior to the break would have been enough to get him in along with Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. 

But it’s fitting that Brown’s time to shine will have to wait. 

Because on many levels, that’s been the narrative surrounding his NBA career. 

And while it would have certainly deterred some and disappointed others, it only drove Brown to continue working on his game, proving his naysayers wrong - including those who booed Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck when he announced that Boston had selected Brown with the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

“Oh, I remember,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston recently. “I definitely remember.”

But instead of dwelling on what has happened, Brown is more locked into what the future holds for both him and the Celtics. 

“Just keep getting better, keep grinding, keep working on all parts of my game,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done, to get where I’m at. So why stop now?”

Classic Celtics: C's outlast Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1986 playoff thriller

Classic Celtics: C's outlast Michael Jordan's Bulls in 1986 playoff thriller

Want to witness one of the greatest individual performances in NBA history? Just tune into NBC Sports Boston on Sunday night.

Our "Classic Celtics" series -- which featured Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals on Friday night -- continues Sunday with a throwback: Game 2 of Boston's 1986 NBA playoffs first-round series with the Chicago Bulls.

That April 20, 1986, game at TD Garden was a defining moment for then-23-year-old Michael Jordan, who went off for an NBA postseason-record 63 points.

But Celtics fans can appreciate Jordan's masterful performance knowing that Boston outlasted Chicago 135-131 in double overtime and swept the series en route to an eventual NBA title.

The broadcast begins Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and as an added bonus, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge -- who scored 24 points in this game while defending Jordan -- will join Brian Scalabrine to provide real-time commentary throughout the game.

Other reasons to watch:

- A vintage performance from Celtics star Larry Bird, who scored a team-high 36 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

- The 1980s Celtics at their peak: Bird, Ainge, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and Bill Walton all scored double figures.

- Jordan hitting two free throws in the final seconds of regulation to force the first overtime.

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