Well, just a few hours after I wrote my blog about my belief in Danny Ainge trading the top pick in Thursday’s draft, he did exactly that. The trade has been made official today. Now the Celtics own the 3rd pick and are looking at players like Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum or Lonzo Ball. Let’s look at these guys and who I feel they might select:
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Danny Ainge says that he believes the player he will select at No. 3 is quite possibly the player he would have selected at No. 1.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 19, 2017
I am higher on Josh Jackson than anybody else in this group. Given this information from Ainge, I have a feeling he is too. I can’t believe he would have taken anybody else first overall out of these three guys besides Jackson. He’s yet to have him in for a workout, but Ainge said in a conference call today that he’s hopeful Jackson will be in tomorrow so they can get a real look at him before Thursday. Here are some of his highlights:
In the 35 games he played at Kansas, Jackson averaged 16.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 3 APG while shooting 51.3% from the field and 37.8% from three. One area he really struggled in was at the free throw line, where he only shot 56.6%. Jackson has been compared to Jimmy Butler by many NBA scouts, who also believe he could be a great defender in the NBA with great potential to become a better scorer as well. Referring back to the NBA GM who last week said Jackson is the type of player Ainge likes, all signs point to Jackson making the most sense at #3.
Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Duke
So if the Lakers take Jackson, which could very well happen, this is where Tatum comes in. If you know me, you know that I am a Duke fan when it comes to college basketball so I would love to see this happen. I watched Tatum play all year, and I believe that he could be a great NBA player. He was in Boston this morning for his pre-draft workout with the Celtics, so there is certainly a chance they take him. Here are his highlights:
He averaged 16.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG his freshman year at Duke while shooting 45.2% from the field and 34.2% from three. He is a strong iso player who can score in a variety of ways, which is something I feel he could translate to the NBA. The only knock on him is that he isn’t that explosive of an athlete for the NBA level, and he isn’t fully developed as a defender. But he certainly has the tools to clean up the areas of his game that scouts are down on.
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
I’m not going to dive too deep into Lonzo Ball only because I feel like if the Celtics wanted to pick a guard, they would’ve kept the #1 pick and taken Fultz. Lonzo would work well on this team given his ability to set up the guys around him. Seeing how the Celtics lack a guy with his passing ability outside of Horford, the fit is definitely there. They are trying to get him in for a workout so anything can happen. But right now I can’t say I see them taking Lonzo Ball.
So what it basically boils down to is Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum. If the Lakers take Lonzo, I think it’ll be Jackson. But if the Lakers pass up on Lonzo for Jackson, I believe the Celtics will take Tatum. I really like both players, so whoever they take I’ll be satisfied with. Ainge took a huge risk punting on the #1 overall pick and Markelle Fultz’ potential, but I still trust him to make the right decision with this pick.
Written By: Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)