Heading into the 2017 NBA Draft, there were many questions about what the Boston Celtics would do with their first-round pick.
Originally, they had the No. 1 overall selection and it was assumed that they would select Washington point guard Markelle Fultz. But when they traded down to the No. 3 spot, all bets were off.
At the time of the draft, most mocks had the C's taking either Duke's Jayson Tatum or Kansas' Josh Jackson with the third overall selection. Ultimately, the team ended up going with Tatum, which proved to be the right choice.
And as the team's assistant general manager Mike Zarren detailed at MIT's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, per Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe, there was one key pre-draft question that Tatum answered to make the team comfortable with selecting him.
At Sloan, Mike Zarren says one of the Celtics' pre-draft questions about Jayson Tatum was in regard to his 3-point shooting. Then, they watched him work out twice in L.A. "He just crushed it shooting in two consecutive workouts for us. That sort of assuaged some doubts."— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) March 6, 2020
This certainly was a fair concern heading into the draft. In college, Tatum averaged four 3-point attempts per game at Duke but only converted on 34.2 percent of them.
But those workouts showed Zarren and the C's front office exactly what they needed to see, and they were right about his long-range ability improving at the next level.
So far during his career, Tatum has made 39.9 percent of his 3-point shots. As a rookie, he hit 43.4 percent of them, one of the highest marks in the league.
This year, he has made nearly 40 percent of his shots behind the arc despite chucking a career-high 7.1 attempts per game. And since the beginning of February, Tatum has been making 48.3 percent of his 3-pointers while shooting 9.1 per game.
It's safe to say that Zarren is happy that those workouts went so well. It certainly made it easier to pick Tatum and the selection is now paying off big-time. The first-time All-Star is budding into a true star player and leader for the Celtics while averaging 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season.
Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.