“We think there’s a really good chance the player that we’ll take at 3 was the same player we would have taken at 1.”- Danny Ainge on trade— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoCSN) June 19, 2017
So the Celtics believe Markelle Fultz would not have been their selection with the #1 Overall Pick in Thursday's NBA Draft. Very interesting to say the least, so let's break it down.
The only other candidates they could have seen at #1 are:
- Lonzo Ball
- Jayson Tatum
- Josh Jackson
- De'Aaron Fox (this one is a stretch)
Whenever news like this breaks, you have to consider why it is breaking. The Celtics are implying that Fultz isn't the clear top pick in the draft after they traded the pick away, therefore creating a built-in excuse if Fultz becomes an NBA Superstar ahead of schedule. They can claim that they wouldn't have taken him at #1 anyways.
Another motive for this could just simply be the fact that they are set at Point Guard, and they specifically didn't feel the need for a PG that high in the draft. Moving down helps them get off-ball talent.
All in all, this is an attempt to change the story, not an assessment of the players, in my opinion.