The NBA landscape has undergone a significant shift in recent years, with international players rising to prominence. Players like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Doncic have taken center stage, showcasing their talents on the global basketball stage.
However, according to Boston Celtics Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, the title of the best American player in the NBA belongs to Jayson Tatum. In a recent episode of the KG Certified podcast, Pierce expressed his belief that Tatum holds that distinction.
Who is the best American born player in the NBA? @paulpierce34 think it is Jayson Tatum.
Don’t miss the latest episode of Ticket and The Truth on our YouTube. pic.twitter.com/WkJxmMIWYz
— SHOWTIME Basketball (@shobasketball) November 21, 2023
While acknowledging the greatness of players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James, Pierce argued that Tatum’s recent body of work has placed him at the forefront of American basketball talent. Tatum’s impressive growth, which includes All-NBA First Team selections and remarkable scoring performances, has solidified his position as one of the league’s top players.
Pierce highlighted Tatum’s contributions to the Boston Celtics, noting that he has led the team to multiple Conference Finals appearances, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2022. Tatum’s impact on the Celtics’ success cannot be denied, as he continues to elevate his game.
One possible factor influencing Pierce’s assessment is his close connection with Tatum. During the summer, Tatum trained with Pierce, benefiting from the wisdom and experience of the Celtics legend. Pierce emphasized his role as a support system for Tatum and expressed his pride in witnessing the young star’s growth.
Currently, Jayson Tatum is averaging 28.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in the 2024 NBA season. The Boston Celtics lead the league standings with an impressive 11-3 record and are considered favorites by oddsmakers to contend for the 2024 NBA championship.
Tatum’s consistent All-Star and All-NBA First Team selections highlight his impact on the league, and Paul Pierce’s assertion that he is the best American player in the NBA carries weight given their shared Celtics connection.