After trading down from No. 1 to No. 3 in the draft, Celtics president Danny Ainge said Boston would probably still get the player it would’ve picked No. 1.
The Celtics selected Jayson Tatum No. 3. Would they have taken him if they held the No. 1 pick?
Ainge, via CSN New England:
Yes, we would have picked him with the first pick. But the draft was very even, we felt, at the top all the way through maybe five or six. And it was very difficult. There was a lot of players we liked in this draft.
I believe that the Celtics saw the top several picks as similar. I also believe, but don’t know, that they would’ve drafted Markelle Fultz if they kept the top pick.
I’m also curious, considering how the process unfolded, whether Ainge had Tatum or Josh Jackson in mind when making his initial statement. Regardless of whether he was thinking Jackson, Tatum or both, Ainge couldn’t reasonably back out of his claim now.
For what it’s worth, I would have seen Jackson (No. 3 on my board) as a reach at No. 1. I see Taytum (No. 9 on my board) as a reach at No. 3, let alone No. 1.