Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Joining Celtics a "Dream Come True" for Tatum

Joining Celtics a

The Celtics originally owned the No. 1 overall pick (acquired from Brooklyn in 2013), but they were confident that Tatum would be available at No. 3, so they chose to trade down.

For the first time in National Basketball Association history, each of the first five draft picks were one-and-done freshmen.

Boston selected Jayson Tatum (Chaminade) with the No. 3 pick Thursday in NY, adding a 6-foot-8 small forward who was a polished scoring threat during his lone season at Duke.

And so it went that the Celtics took the 6-foot-8, 205-pound Tatum, who averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in his one season at Duke, while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor.

Can we expect a 20-year-old to carry the Celtics to the NBA Finals? No. Boston selected Jaylen Brown with its first round pick in 2016. He said that they had a workout planned to watch him and talk to him and they flew out to Sacramento, California for that workout.

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"I look at it as a great opportunity", said Tatum. "I can't wait to go and learn from Coach (Brad) Stevens and Isaiah Thomas and just everybody on that roster".

All of that was clearly illustrated on Friday afternoon when Tatum met the Boston media at the Celtics training facility in Waltham, roughly 16 hours after Boston selected the Duke freshman forward with the third overall pick in the National Basketball Association draft.

But Tatum becomes an instant rival of friend and fellow Chaminade product Bradley Beal, a guard with the Washington Wizards, who in 2012 also was a No. 3 overall pick, but out of the University of Florida.

Later in the Draft, the Celtics welcomed aboard Southern Methodist forward Semi Ojeleye (37th overall), Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (53rd overall) and Cal-Berkeley guard Jabari Bird (56th overall).

"To get back to where they were past year and get over that hump", he said.

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The Triangle has churned out eight lottery picks over the last five NBA Drafts, with Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State all represented.

"He was just ranting about how great of a person Brad Stevens is", Tatum said. I was all for it.

"I'd love to play for Boston", the likely top five pick said at pre-draft availability in NY". "I wasn't too excited about playing the four coming in at Kansas, but we caused a lot of mismatch problems and I think it really bettered me as a player".

To make matters worse, if Tatum turns out to be the piece Boston is unwilling to part with in a trade for George or even rising New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, the forward will have enormous expectations to live up to in a city that expects championships.

The Celtics got the No. 3 pick in that deal, which was finalized Monday afternoon.

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He turned out to be correct. I think they got a very good player in Jayson Tatum, but that doesn't mean B.J. and I and ... other members of my staff couldn't talk and try to formulate the best plan to get a player we were really high on to a place we felt he really wanted to go and would be a great fit for him.

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