Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson Rise To Celtics’ Forefront As NBA Draft Approaches


The Markelle Fultz-to-Boston train has come to a screeching halt. But Celtics fans have two other players to get excited about.

The C’s officially dropped two spots in the 2017 NBA Draft on Monday via a pick swap with the Philadelphia 76ers, leaving them with the No. 3 overall selection. According to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, though, that deal won’t change the team’s draft plans — Ainge’s comments Monday and a report from ESPN’s Chad Ford suggest Gang Green has two primary targets in mind: Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Kansas’ Josh Jackson.

Ainge confirmed a report that Tatum worked out at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham, Mass., on Monday. Per that report, the 19-year-old swingman had a pretty solid session.

“A source familiar with Tatum’s solo workout said he impressed with his shot-making and footwork in the drills he participated in,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin wrote.

The Celtics hope to bring in Jackson Tuesday for a workout, according to Ainge. An unnamed NBA general manager recently said he was convinced Boston would draft Jackson first overall, but the versatile 6-foot-8 guard has yet to meet with the C’s after canceling a pre-draft workout last week.

Ainge was asked about Tatum’s workout and the possibility of selecting he or Jackson with the No. 3 pick, but he declined to talk specifics.

“I think they’re both terrific players. I’ll say that,” Ainge said. “But I don’t really want to get into any more details based on their workouts. I like both of those kids. I think they’re both terrific talents.”

We obviously don’t know for sure who the Celtics are set on drafting — Ainge has surprised us before, and there’s still the wild card of another trade involving the No. 3 pick. But for now, it seems Tatum and Jackson are the front-runners to land in Boston.

Click to see NESN.com’s updated NBA mock draft >>

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images

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