Drew Carter shares most shocking thing he’s learned about Celtics due to…

Drew Carter has a front-row seat to one of the best shows in basketball this season.

Carter is NBC Sports Boston’s new play-by-play announcer for Boston Celtics road games in 2023-24, and will take over the role full time in 2024-25 after legendary broadcaster Mike Gorman concludes his final season.

 

Carter has watched the Celtics jump out to a 9-2 record — tied with the Denver Nuggets for the best in the NBA — and was on the call Wednesday night for Boston’s gritty win over the 76ers in Philadelphia despite missing two of its starters.

Joining our Chris Forsberg on a new Celtics Talk Podcast, Carter reflected on the “playoff-like” atmosphere at Wells Fargo Center and admitted he’s already all-in on the Celtics-Sixers rivalry.

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“It was just really cool environment,” Carter told Forsberg. “It was fun as hell walking out of that building with a victory. Like, I was pretty close to talking smoke to Sixers fans. I mean, I didn’t do anything to help win the game, but I was just so fired up because it was a big win.”

While 11 games is a small sample size, Forsberg asked Carter to share the most interesting thing he’s learned through one-plus months of calling Celtics games and being around the team. His response was a strong vote of confidence for the Jayson Tatum MVP campaign.

“It doesn’t really matter which five is out there. As long as Tatum is on the floor, he’s like the sun and the planets are going to orbit around him in a beautiful way,” Carter said. “It’s going to look different but everything’s going to orbit at a high level.

“This is something that Scal (color analyst Brian Scalabrine) has brought up a couple times lately, including in his chat with (head coach Joe) Mazzulla pregame yesterday: How do we find a lineup where Tatum’s not on the floor but that lineup is still either increasing the lead or cutting the deficit — basically a plus lineup without JT? Because so far we have not found it.

“It’s a little confusing because the team is so talented. We have another All-NBA player, we have other All-Stars on the team, the pieces fit really well, but so far, Tatum has just been such a keystone that without him, the team has not found that five that makes the most sense just yet.”

Tatum has played at an extremely high level through 11 games, averaging 28.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range. To illustrate Carter’s point, the Celtics entered Wednesday’s game outscoring opponents by 23.4 points per 100 possessions with Tatum on the court, but getting outscored by 13.6 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the bench.

That +37.0 net rating differential was by far the best in the NBA as of earlier this week and highlights that even with the likes of Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White and Al Horford on the roster, Tatum is still the straw that stirs the Celtics’ drink.

To hear more from Carter on his favorite call of the season to date, his chance encounter with musician (and Forsberg favorite) Dave Matthews in a Brooklyn elevator and more, check out the full Celtics Talk Podcast in the YouTube video below.

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