Jayson Tatum has two new toys to play with after the Boston Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday during the offseason. During an interview with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, Tatum gave his thoughts on playing with the Celtics’ two new stars.
Tatum attributed his excitement to play with Holiday to both his resume and their time playing together.
“I’m extremely happy to have him,” Tatum told Haynes in an October 5 story. “Jrue’s one of the most well-respected guys in this league. He’s a champion. We won a gold medal together two summers ago. So, I know him pretty well and know he is a hell of a player, a hell of a teammate.
“I told him we’re lucky to have him, and we’re going to try to get it done.”
When discussing Porzingis, Tatum explained why he’s never played with someone like him.
“I haven’t had a teammate like (Porzingis) thus far. I haven’t had a low-post presence that is that versatile and can score with the best of them. He brings a different dynamic,” Tatum said.
Holiday and Porzingis definitely give the Celtics some new dimensions they haven’t had since Tatum started playing for them. Acquiring them comes with risks, but they raise the Celtics’ ceiling enough on paper that they are worth the risks.
Kristaps Porzingis Believes He Will Fit With Celtics
When the Celtics acquired Porzingis from the Washington Wizards, he was seen as someone who could form a “Big 3” with Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Porzingis gave his thoughts on the matter, believing that he would make life easier for his two all-star teammates and vice versa.
“It’s just gonna be a matter of time before we find our rhythm on the court,” Porzingis told Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I think my game is going to complement their game so much. I’m going to try to open things up for them, and I know that’s what’s going to make my game much easier. I’m looking forward to that.”
Tatum and Brown have played with some offensively talented centers, like Al Horford and Enes Kanter Freedom, but Porzingis gives them something different. He’s not only a center who can stretch the floor but also adds some offensive finesse inside the arc that the Celtics star duo haven’t played with before.
The only way to know for sure is to see how they look when they play together, but on paper, Porzingis should help a lot.
Jrue Holiday Praises Marcus Smart
Holiday is expected to replace much of what the Celtics lost when they traded Marcus Smart. While they’re not the same player, Holiday is recognized as one of the league’s best defensive guards. Upon his official introduction to the Celtics, Holiday praised Smart for what he does.
“I think we have a good relationship. I always have been a fan of his, especially because of the way that he plays. How he gets under people’s skin. What he does for the game of basketball, in my opinion, sometimes goes unnoticed. (I’m) super happy for him for winning Defensive Player of the Year. Especially as a guard, I know what it’s like and how hard it is to guard 1-5 and not getting that much credit for it, but to see him do it has been awesome,” Holiday said while talking to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston on October 4.
Holiday’s acquisition was not so much to replace Smart as much as it was to mitigate the potential issues that would have come with trading Smart. Again, he and Holiday are not the same player, but the Celtics should feel a lot more comfortable with their backcourt defensively now compared to before they acquired Holiday.