The Boston Celtics’ trade with the 76ers to send the No. 1 pick to Philadelphia was officially announced on Monday, and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may have revealed his pick as well.
In a conference call, Ainge explained why the Celtics traded down, saying that he felt Boston’s pick was going to be there at No. 3 anyway.
Ainge said via ESPN:
“We think there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at [No.] 3 is the same player we would have taken at [No.] 1. So this was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset.”
If that’s the case then it really sounds like the Celtics are leaning towards Duke forward Jayson Tatum with that No. 3 overall pick.
Kansas forward Josh Jackson had been gaining momentum in recent days about possibly going at No. 2 to the Lakers. If the Celtics were absolutely settled on Jackson, they likely would have just kept their No. 1 pick. Tatum wasn’t going to Philadelphia or Los Angeles while the player Philadelphia wanted (Markelle Fultz) wasn’t guaranteed to be available at No. 3 even if Boston took Tatum at No. 1.
There just wasn’t enough assurance that the Lakers would take Lonzo Ball over Jackson for Ainge to make those comments. They had Tatum in for a workout on Monday and plan to work out Jackson on Tuesday. At the very least, it’s down to Tatum and Jackson.
Tatum has been somewhat under the radar during recent draft rumors, but that’s already beginning to change.
© 2017 USATODAY.COM