Jayson Tatum: Celtics would’ve drafted me No. 1, but 76ers didn’t know


Celtics president Danny Ainge said he would’ve drafted Jayson Tatum No. 1. Of course, Boston traded down with the 76ers (who took Markelle Fultz with the first pick) then got Tatum at No. 3.

Know who believes Ainge?


Tatum, via WTF In The Attic:

The Celtics was always going to pick me No. 1, but Philly didn’t know that. Philly thought that Boston was going to pick Markelle. So, Philly traded the pick and gave Boston a pick for next year. So, Boston was like, “Well, we can still get the player we want, a next-year pick, and then we get the player we wanted for less money.” So Boston still got all what they wanted, and Philly had to give up still to get the player.

But Philly didn’t know that Boston was gong to pick me. So, that’s why they traded up.

If the Celtics truly felt Tatum was the best prospect in the draft, their trade with the 76ers – which netted an additional first-rounder* – is a no-brainer. Maybe Philadelphia even gave up too much. Perhaps, it would have been cheaper to trade up with the Lakers for the No. 2 pick or even remained at No. 3 and hoped Los Angeles still took Lonzo Ball, leaving Fultz to No. 3.

*The pick will be the Lakers’ if it lands 2-5 in 2018. Otherwise, it will be the higher of the Kings’ and 76ers’ own first-rounders in 2019 (unless that’s the No. 1 pick, in which case Boston will get the lower selection).

Of course, Ainge could just be spinning to promote his player. The only spot on any team’s draft board we know with absolutely certainty is Fultz ranking No. 1 on the 76ers’, because they actually took him No. 1.

But perhaps Tatum has more insight into Ainge’s thinking. If Ainge told Tatum before the trade he would draft him No. 1, that’d mean more than Ainge’s after-the-fact declarations.