BOSTON – Jayson Tatum has no promise that he’ll be the Boston Celtics’ pick at No. 3.
But the 6-foot-9 forward has a pretty good idea of where he would be used … everywhere it seems.
One of the first things he discussed with the Celtics during his workout with Boston was how he would fit in with their system.
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“He (Celtics head coach Brad Stevens) said that guys my size, my position, I’m able to get open shots and defend the 1 (point guard) through the 4 (power forward), it’s hard not to play those guys,” Tatum told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s how he looks at using me if they were to draft me.”
And there’s no guarantee that will happen, although the fact that his stiffest competition for being Boston’s pick at No. 3, Josh Jackson, did not work out for the Celtics.
Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that he had spoken with Stevens and some of the team’s assistant coaches, but had yet to talk with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge – the man who will decide who the Celtics select at No. 3.
From the beginning of this draft process, Tatum was viewed as a top-6 player who isn’t projected to go any higher than No. 3 overall.
Teams love his versatility as a scorer as well as his basketball smarts which have helped him compensate for not being quite as explosive or as athletic as some other players in this draft but more than capable of potentially making a significant impact.
While Stevens’ comments are certainly encouraging words for a young prospect, that doesn’t change the fact that getting minutes as a rookie on a team that’s coming off a trip to the Conference finals with most of their core returning, won’t be easy.
“I feel you have that approach to whatever team takes you,” Tatum said. “Nothing is guaranteed. I feel like no matter who you play for, you have to earn your spot. It shouldn’t matter who picks you.”
But he acknowledges that going to a team like Boston where the challenge for minutes early on will be greater than it will be for most lottery picks, is something that has crossed his mind.
“I definitely thought about it,” Tatum said. “For me, I’m happy to be going into the NBA. I guess I’ll think about that more after I see what team I’m picked by.”
In his lone season at Duke, the 19-year-old Tatum averaged 16.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals with 1.1 blocks per game.