Celtics

Celtics, Jazz have never looked smarter for their 2017 NBA Draft decisions

Celtics, Jazz have never looked smarter for their 2017 NBA Draft decisions

Vivint Smart Home Arena is a fitting site for the Boston Celtics' matchup with the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

After all, the Celtics and Jazz got to where they are by being the two smartest teams at the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Celtics entered with the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to draft Washington star Markelle Fultz. Instead, they moved down two slots, acquired a future first-round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers and got their guy anyway in Jayson Tatum.

Ten picks later, the Jazz swung a trade with the Denver Nuggets to land No. 13 overall pick Donovan Mitchell.

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Guess which players  have scored the most career points of anyone in the 2017 draft class? That'd be Mitchell (22.7 career average) and Tatum (16.9 career average).

Mitchell made the quicker ascent: He averaged 20.5 points per game as a rookie to land on the NBA All-Rookie First Team and is currently averaging 24.4 points per game, the most by a Jazz player since Hall of Famer Karl Malone in 1999-00.

Tatum appears to have the higher ceiling, however: He's two years younger than the 23-year-old Mitchell and is putting up ridiculous numbers this month in addition to blossoming into a strong defender.

But the best way to quantify Boston and Utah's success in the 2017 Draft is to look at who they didn't select.

Here's a recap of the first 15 picks:

1. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers
2. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
4. Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns
5. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
6. Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
7. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
8. Frank Ntilikina, New York Knicks
9. Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks
10. Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers
11. Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
12. Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons
13. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
14. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

15. Justin Jackson, Sacramento Kings

The players in bold are All-Stars, as Tatum, Mitchell and Adebayo are the only three players from the 2017 draft class to crack an All-Star roster.

The two picks ahead of Tatum? Fultz played in 33 total games over his first two seasons in Philly before he was shipped off to Orlando, while Ball missed a combined 65 games over his first two campaigns before the Lakers dealt him to the Pelicans.

The pick behind Tatum? Jackson got traded to the Grizzlies after two disgruntled years in Phoenix and actually got assigned to Memphis' G-League team earlier this season.

Fox has been brilliant for Sacramento, while Isaac and Markkanen boast upside if they can stay healthy.

But Tatum and Mitchell have outplayed them all.

And when the two All-Stars meet Wednesday night, it will be further validation that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey knew exactly what they were doing in Brooklyn in June 2017.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Who are the best point guards in Celtics history? Ranking the Top 10

Who are the best point guards in Celtics history? Ranking the Top 10

It's no surprise that the Boston Celtics, the team that has won more championships than any other â€” 17 â€” also has an incredible list of point guards that have taken the floor over the franchise's storied history.

Their most famous floor general, Bob Cousy, helped the Celtics to their first six titles, but some of the best point guards in team history have taken the floor more recently.

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Much more recently, in fact. Brad Stevens has only been Boston's head coach since 2013, but he has coached four different All-Star point guards in that time.

Some of the team's best point guards have even gone on to success in the Celtics front office and on the sidelines. 

So from Cooz to Kemba, DJ to Jo Jo, these are the best point guards in Celtics history.

Click here for Chris Forsberg's Top 10.

Why isn't Gordon Hayward participating in players' NBA 2K tournament?

Why isn't Gordon Hayward participating in players' NBA 2K tournament?

When a report surfaced Monday night that the NBA is launching an NBA 2K tournament pitting players against each other, Boston Celtics fans all had the same thought:

Gordon Hayward isn't just going to participate in this. He's going to dominate it.

The Celtics forward, after all, is probably the NBA's most avid video gamer, with his own sponsor (HyperX Gaming) and numerous blog posts about his love for gaming.

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But when ESPN's "The Boardroom" revealed the 16 players who will compete in the tournament Tuesday, Hayward was nowhere to be found.

What gives? Does No. 1 overall seed Kevin Durant have a vendetta against Hayward? Is Hayward too good to concern himself with these casual gamers?

In all likelihood, there's a simpler answer: Hayward doesn't really play 2K -- or any sports video game, for that matter.

Here's Hayward in a 2011 interview with ESPN:

"The one thing I've never been into are the sports games. I don't know, I just don't like playing those as much. I bought 'NBA 2K11' just to see myself. It was creepily similar and it's cool to say that you're in a video game, but I'm just not into it that much. I'm more into first-person shooters and real-time strategy games."

That's still the case today, apparently. Hayward lists seven "favorite games" on his HyperX Gaming page, and only one of them (FIFA) is sports-related: Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, FIFA, Destiny and Clash Royale.

In that context, it's obvious why Hayward wasn't one of the 16 competitors selected, especially considering how many other players are obsessed with 2K.

That said, we would have liked to see at least one Celtic make the cut here; after all, Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum both starred in a trailer for NBA 2K20 last August.

The tournament kicks off this Friday on ESPN, giving sports fans at least something to watch (aside from "Classic Celtics," of course) while the NBA is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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