Jayson Tatum had one of the two best seasons from players drafted in the 2017 class, but the budding star forward wasn’t one of the top two players taken this past summer.
The Philadelphia 76ers moved up to No. 1 to take Markelle Fultz, while the Los Angeles Lakers grabbed Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick. Tatum effectively fell into the lap of the Boston Celtics at No. 3, and the 20-year-old went on to post an outstanding rookie campaign that stretched all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
During an appearance Thursday on ESPN’s “The Jump,” Tatum didn’t hide from admitting he had dreams of being the No. 1 pick, but the young swingman seems to be more than content with how things worked out.
“Growing up, I’ve always had dreams and aspirations of going to the NBA. You know, being the No. 1 pick and being the best player I can be,” Tatum said. “There were no hard feelings when my name wasn’t called. I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. Going No. 3 isn’t so bad and I think it was the best situation possible for me.”
It’s safe to say Tatum had a much different debut season than both Fultz and Ball. The No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks combined to play in 69 games and scored a collective 633 points. Tatum, on the other hand, scored 1,112 points over the course of an 80-game regular-season slate and then dropped another 351 in Boston’s 19 playoff games.
All three players certainly could go on to have great careers in the league, but at this point, Tatum undoubtedly has the brightest future of the bunch.