Michael Jordan

How well does 21-year-old Jayson Tatum compare to 21-year-old Michael Jordan?

How well does 21-year-old Jayson Tatum compare to 21-year-old Michael Jordan?

We know that Jayson Tatum is on the path to NBA stardom. But is he on a similar pace to one of the greatest players ever to play the game, Michael Jordan?

You be the judge.

Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf) checked out the statistical comparison between Jayson Tatum and Michael Jordan during their 21-year-old seasons. And when looking at the numbers on a per 36-minute basis, they were relatively close in most major categories.

In addition to the numbers pictured, Tatum averaged 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks per 36 as a 21-year-old. Meanwhile, Jordan got 5.5 assists, 2.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per 36.

So, Jordan edged Tatum in most categories, save for Tatum's rebounding advantage and his ever-so-slight blocks advantage. Of course, it's worth noting that Jordan entered the league as a 21-year-old rookie, so he had no NBA experience while he put up these excellent numbers. Tatum had 143 games of regular-season experience and 19 games of playoff experience before his 21st birthday.

Regardless, the point is that Tatum is still developing very well and the fact that his numbers can even be comparable to one of the NBA's all-time greats is an excellent sign. He should continue to progress and should soon be one of the top players in the NBA if he continues on his current trajectory.

Tatum may not reach Jordan level. Few ever do. But the stats indicate that he's on the right track very early on in his career.

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Celtics Talk Podcast: Danny Ainge on why 63-point game was Michael Jordan's coming out party

Celtics Talk Podcast: Danny Ainge on why 63-point game was Michael Jordan's coming out party

Everybody knew that Michael Jordan was an excellent NBA player very early on in his career.

But was his 63-point game against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1986 NBA Playoffs his coming out party? Current Celtics GM Danny Ainge seems to think so.

On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Ainge discussed Jordan's 63-point playoff outburst from that series with Brian Scalabrine.

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In the interview, Ainge referred to the game as the moment that many realized that Jordan was "a really, really special player" even though everyone already knew that he was talented.

I think this was a coming out party, a little bit maybe like what Jayson Tatum had after the All-Star Game this year, this long stretch [of good play]. I think this 63-point game, 49 back-to-back games, was a coming out party for Michael as 'Wow, this guy is a really, really special player.' But we knew going in that he was extremely talented.

Ainge would certainly know. He was tasked with helping to guard Jordan late in the game, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime despite having five fouls. Ainge actually held up well doing that, but Jordan still beat him on occasion with his quickness to the hoop and insane scoring touch.

That said, it's also notable that Ainge is comparing Jordan's coming out party to that of Tatum. The third-year Celtic had emerged as a big-time scorer and one of the NBA's best all-around young players after the All-Star Game before the NBA shut down amid coronavirus concerns.

Certainly, Ainge isn't comparing Tatum to Jordan as a player. But the fact that he mentioned the duo in the same breath is still encouraging, and it should signify that Ainge continues to have confidence as the 22-year-old Tatum looks to continue to improve heading into the final year of his rookie contract in 2020-21.

To hear more from Ainge and Scal about the 1986 Celtics-Bulls series and Ainge's relationship with Michael Jordan, check out this week's episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, available on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network and YouTube.

Danny Ainge details relationship with Michael Jordan before Celtics-Bulls in 1986

Danny Ainge details relationship with Michael Jordan before Celtics-Bulls in 1986

Danny Ainge wasn't a player who would often hang out with opponents during his playing days.

But he did make an exception when it came to Michael Jordan.

In a recent episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Ainge detailed his relationship with Jordan and spoke of a time that the two golfed together ahead of the Celtics-Bulls playoff series in 1986. 

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"This is the only time ever in my entire career that I had dinner, lunch did anything with an opponent," Ainge said of the meeting with Jordan. "But with Michael, Michael loved golf and I loved golf and Michael reached out and wanted to know where he could find a golf course and maybe get on a golf course to play in Boston on their two off days. So, I think we arranged to play 36 at Framingham Country Club."

Ainge also called Jordan "one competitive son of a gun," a fact well-known to anyone who saw Jordan compete during his playing days.

Nobody will blame Ainge for spending time with Jordan on a day off. After all, the Celtics were still able to sweep the Bulls in the series even despite Jordan averaging a whopping 43.7 points per game. So, it doesn't seem like either side picked up many tips and tricks about how to slow the other down.

NBC Sports Boston will be re-airing Game 2 of that Celtics-Bulls series on Sunday night at 7 p.m. Tune in to watch Jordan drop an NBA playoff-record 63 points while the C's rode a balanced effort to an overtime victory.