The Boston Celtics own the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and most experts believe they’ll take Washington guard Markelle Fultz. But C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is no stranger to bold moves, and one rival general manager thinks Boston will go in a different direction than Fultz with the top pick.
“I’ve picked Danny’s brain for years,” one GM told ESPN’s Chad Ford. “(Josh) Jackson is an Ainge player all the way. Tough, athletic, long, versatile, elite motor. If he’s keeping the pick, Jackson just to me, far and away, is the most Celtics-type player for them to draft. From all my conversations with them, I’m convinced they’ll take Jackson No. 1.”
Jackson starred for Kansas as a freshman this past season, averaging 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He’s a highly skilled and versatile wing, and those types of players are coveted in today’s fast-paced style that’s dominated by perimeter scorers.
What do the C’s think of Jackson?
“We like him a lot,” a Celtics source told Ford. “But we like several guys a lot. We’ve got a week to figure it out.”
The draft is June 22, and so far, the only top prospect who’s worked out for Boston is Fultz. UCLA guard Lonzo Ball declined to work out for the Celtics and Jackson recently canceled a workout with them.
Fultz probably is the best option for the Celtics because he’s the most talented player in this draft class, but from a fit standpoint, Jackson might make more sense since the C’s already have so many guards.
It’s going to be a tough decision for Ainge, but it’s one he probably isn’t mad about. Twenty-nine other teams would love to be in his position owning the top pick in a loaded draft.
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