The Boston Celtics, amid all the trade rumors involving their No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, kept the selection — at least for now — and took Duke swingman Jayson Tatum on Thursday night.
Tatum has drawn comparisons to former Indiana Pacers star Danny Granger and Celtics legend Paul Pierce. He’s a legit shot maker, which the Celtics desperately need. All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas is the only Celtic capable of creating his own shot anywhere on the floor.
Tatum can attack the basket and finish at the rim, excel in the pick-and-roll and make shots from 3-point range. He’s the most polished scorer and shooter in this draft. Therefore, the Duke product should be able to provide instant offense off the bench as a rookie.
Tatum isn’t an elite defender, but his above average length and athleticism should help make defense one of the strengths of his game at some point in the near future.
The NBA in 2017 is a league dominated by wing play. Just look at the champion Golden State Warriors, who just dominated the 2017 playoffs with four elite perimeter players — Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
You need all the talented, versatile, two-way forwards as possible, and now the Celtics have two very promising ones in Tatum and 2016 No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, who had a very good rookie campaign.
Tatum can play shooting guard, small forward or power forward. We know Celtics coach Brad Stevens values versatility, and with teams using so many small-ball lineups these days, Tatum is an ideal player for those rotations.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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