National Basketball Association draft draws second-largest audience on ESPN

The Celtics obtained the No. 1 overall pick in last month's lottery, but days before the draft Ainge traded the pick to Philadelphia for the third this year and a future No. 1.

The Duke men's basketball program matched a school record on Thursday night with four selections in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Boston Celtics chose Duke forward Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick of the National Basketball Association draft on Thursday night.

Boston drafted Tatum in part for his elite scoring ability on the wing: He averaged 16.8 points per game as a freshman last season and shot 45 percent from the floor. The Celtics also took Kadeem Allen out of Arizona with the No. 53 overall pick.

"It was just a freak incident, there was no contact I just planted", said the 19-year-old.

Duke's Jayson Tatum is projected to be the area's first player off the board but N.C. State's Dennis Smith, ACC player of the year Justin Jackson of North Carolina and Duke sophomore Luke Kennard should all join him in the first round if not in the lucrative lottery.

"What kind of a person Jayson is, and his great family upbringing, and who he is have been validated at every turn by a lot of different people", said Stevens. "I can't wait to go and learn from Coach (Brad) Stevens and Isaiah Thomas and just everybody on that roster".

Ainge said after the draft that he tried not to let the snub affect his thinking, and that Tatum was his pick all along, and maybe that's true.

He turned out to be correct. And I think the same thing this time. Unfortunately, history tells us that numerous players chosen in the 2017 NBA Draft will turn out to disappoint or, at worst, wash out.

Josh Jackson did not hold a private workout with the Celtics, but he has said he likes the idea of playing with Jaylen Brown.

Tatum said he stayed in contact with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski throughout the draft process, and it was Coach K who encouraged him to take the Celtics up on their last-minute invitation. They had their highest pick going into the draft since 1998, when they ended up with Dirk Nowitzki, who is preparing for his 20th season. I was all for it.

Lonzo Ball (UCLA) is introduced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as the number two overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. "When we flew out to Sacramento, they made a decision to cancel it; as we flew, Brad and I and (assistant GM and team counsel) Mike Zarren flew cross country".

Despite not having had a chance to speak with Jackson or getting to work him out, Ainge said the Celtics still had not ruled out drafting him.

It made Tatum not the compromise, but the best fit for a team that's still in position to be a big player in free agency this summer.

"I think that he's a guy that we thought really highly of from Day 1", Stevens said. But whether it's one of these guys to Boston, New York or L.A., can we all just cross our fingers and hope that those three franchises make the right moves to climb back to relevance?

Tatum said he appreciated the faith Boston showed in taking him.

  • Carolyn Briggs