NEW YORK — Would the Boston Celtics really select a player who hasn’t even worked out for them ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft?
Josh Jackson certainly believes it’s possible.
The ex-Kansas star made headlines by declining to work out with Boston last week, before the Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal in which the C’s acquired the No. 3 pick. On Wednesday, Jackson explained why.
“(My agent and I) felt like it would be sort of a waste of time for the both of us for me to go out and work out, (since) they were really not considering drafting me,” Jackson told reporters at the NBA draft’s media availability session. “But after they got the third pick, we tried to schedule something for me to get out there, but it was just scheduling issues, and it was a little too late for me to get out there.”
Jackson did speak with head coach Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and other Celtics assistants over the phone last week and said he’s “definitely” open to working out for Boston ahead of the draft. Of course, the draft is right around the corner, so that looks unlikely. But the 20-year-old still sounded gung-ho about the possibility of donning a green hat on draft night.
“I think it would be great to play in Boston,” Jackson said. “I see a lot of players on their team that are about the same things that I’m about. I love to win, and I see that in a lot of guys on their team, so I would love to play in Boston.”
Among those players is Jaylen Brown, the Celtics’ No. 3 overall pick just one year ago. Jackson said he’s talked to Brown “a few times” and would be excited to play with the Cal product, even if they play similar positions.
“A lot of people (say) we’re the same player or we play the same position, but playing with Jaylen would be pretty special,” Jackson said. “If you look at two of the best teams in the league, they’re playing three small forwards at the same time, sometimes even four. So, I don’t really see how people would think two guys like me and Jaylen playing together would be any type of issue at all.”
In fact, the 6-foot-8, 205-pound Jackson thinks his game would complement Brown’s quite well.
“Jaylen, I think he’s a lot stronger than I am,” Jackson said. “He’s got a way better NBA body than me at the moment. I think I’m more of a guy who thrives in transition, and he’s more of a halfcourt guy. But I think we can really work together and do something special.”
Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images
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