Danny Ainge says Celtics would have taken Jayson Tatum with top pick

The Celtics got their man at No. 3.
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At some point over the course of the last week dating back to the Celtics’ decision to deal the No. 1 pick to the 76ers, we’ve all wondered exactly what Boston was thinking.

Danny Ainge told us, basically, immediately after the draft. Boston took Jayson Tatum third out of Duke, and he was the player who they felt good enough about to move down.

“Yes, we would have picked [Tatum] with the first pick,” Ainge said according to CSN New England. “But the draft was very even, we felt, at the top all the way through maybe five or six. And it was very difficult. There [were] a lot of players we liked in this draft.”

So no, there was no corresponding trade (at least, yet), despite leaguewide suspicions and conversations with the Knicks and Bulls. Ainge has made Jaylen Brown close to untouchable. Boston seems to be comfortable sitting on its pile of assets and preparing to court Gordon Hayward.

And you know what? The majority of the other 29 teams would be, too.