Jayson Tatum Confirms That The Celtics Would’ve Taken Him With The No. 1 Pick

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Just as suspected, the Boston Celtics pulled a real rope-a-dope routine prior to this summer’s NBA Draft. The week before the annual festivities kicked off at the Barclays Center, Danny Ainge traded the Celtics’ No. 1 pick, and presumably the opportunity to get Markelle Fultz, to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 pick and a haul of other future draft picks.

Now, it turns out Boston would’ve taken Jayson Tatum with the No. 1 pick regardless, but instead seized the opportunity to fleece the Sixers a little in the process, at least according to Jayson Tatum. Via WTF In The Attic:

“The Celtics were always going to pick me No. 1, but Philly didn’t know that. Philly thought that Boston was going to pick Markelle [Fultz]. 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 going to pick me, so that’s why they traded up.”

It sort of worked out for everyone, but Ainge proved once again that he’s just a little more thirsty for assets than even the Sixers, who have been stockpiling them like they’re readying for the apocalypse since the early Sam Hinkie era. There were already murmurs at the time that Boston wanted Tatum, and given his performance at Summer League in Las Vegas, it appears they have a quality prospect on their hands.

After landing Gordon Hayward in free agency, they’re both built to win now and set up nicely for the future with young talent and future picks.