NBA Rumors: Celtics Flip-Flop On Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson With No. 3 Pick


Jun 22, 2017

No one knows what the Boston Celtics are going to do — perhaps even the organization itself — just hours before Thursday’s NBA draft.

ESPN’s Chad Ford released his latest mock draft Thursday morning and predicted the Celtics will select Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick. Ford hardly sounds convinced, though, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reportedly was fielding trade offers as of Wednesday and Boston also apparently loves Kansas’ Josh Jackson.

Here’s more from Ford on the No. 3 pick, which the Celtics acquired Monday from the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade that sent the No. 1 overall selection to the City of Brotherly Love:

“This pick seems to come down to Tatum versus Josh Jackson. The Celtics love them both, and one source in Boston said they’ve been going back and forth on the two about every six hours.”

Most NBA insiders, including Ford, expect Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball to go No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, but things figure to get interesting at No. 3, where the Celtics could trade back (again), deal for a veteran star or select the player they like best. If they keep the pick, Tatum and Jackson both seem like reasonable choices, although there are a few reasons why Ford is leaning toward the Duke product.

“Jackson was the early favorite here, but a strong workout and interview by Tatum, combined with a refusal from Jackson’s agent to bring him in for a similar workout, appear to have tipped the scales in Tatum’s direction,” Ford wrote.

Ford also touched on Tatum being the better shooter and scorer, even calling him “the most NBA-ready scorer in the draft.” Ford suggested the Celtics are hopeful Tatum will buy into what they’re trying to do defensively, which could help compensate for Jackson being the better defender.

Either way, it doesn’t sound like there’s a consensus on the pick, and nothing involving the Celtics really would be surprising at this point.

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Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images

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