Jayson Tatum recently admitted he wasn’t very keen on the idea of being picked by the Celtics heading into the 2017 NBA Draft.
In fact, the young swingman nearly denied Boston’s request for a second workout.
Considering the C’s were coming off a 2016-17 season in which they claimed the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Tatum initially thought he wouldn’t have an immediate chance to shine in Boston. Tatum thus had his eyes set on the Suns, who impressed him during his pre-draft visit to Phoenix and owned the fourth overall pick that year.
Had it not been for a pitch made by Tatum’s college coach, Mike Krzyzewski, the Celtics might not have been able to get a second look at the budding star before the draft.
“Even when the Celtics called to try setting up a second workout, Tatum said he told his agent, Jeff Wechsler, he liked it in Phoenix and did not want to go to Boston,” Jay King wrote in a column published to The Athletic on Monday. “The weather in Phoenix was nice. Tatum thought he could buy a big house with a pool and his mother would be all right there. His agent tried to sell him on the Celtics’ merits, but Tatum wasn’t budging.
” … After receiving a phone call from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who praised Stevens and the Celtics, Tatum ultimately agreed to attend the workout in Boston. He flew to Massachusetts for the audition, then took a train afterward to the draft in New York. The first two picks of the draft went just as Tatum anticipated. Philadelphia took Fultz and the Lakers took Ball. The Celtics then chose Tatum with the third pick, one spot before the Suns took Jackson.”
Given how things have played out for the 2020 All-Star, he surely must be glad he took Coach K’s advice.