The Boston Celtics found themselves a good one when they drafted Jayson Tatum No. 3 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Boston had the No. 1 overall draft and surprised the NBA world when it dealt the pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia drafted point guard Markelle Fultz and the Los Angeles Lakers followed by taking fellow point guard Lonzo Ball leaving open the door open for the Celtics to nab Tatum.
The Duke product immediately drew comparisons to Boston legend Paul Pierce for their similar style of play, but no one -- well maybe Danny Ainge -- knew what Tatum could become.
Six years later Tatum has blossomed into a bonafide star in the league. He's not just an All-Star, but the Most Valuable Player contender. Tatum very well may be one of the five best players in the entire league and he's still just 24 years old. He has a long, bright future ahead of him and it certainly sounds like he's loving his time in Boston.
“It flies by," Tatum said to the Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach. "This is my sixth year. I remember when I got drafted, I couldn’t imagine what I’d be doing in six years, and just, like, you blink and it’s here. It just goes by so fast.
“It’s all I know, being a part of the Celtics, being in Boston. Obviously, it’s been the best experience. It’s worked out for the best for me, the team, my family. I’m forever grateful. Grateful that (Danny Ainge) took a chance drafting me, grateful for (Brad Stevens) and (Ime Udoka) and (Joe Mazzulla) coaching me. I give all those guys credit, so I think it’s special just being here.”
Tatum has loved playing for the Celtics and that feeling certainly has been reciprocated by Boston. The Celtics inked Tatum to a five-year, $163 million rookie maximum extension tying Tatum to Boston until at least 2025. The young star holds a player option worth over $37 million for the 2025-26 season and then would be a free agent after the season but if he continues to ascend the way he has, the Celtics likely won't let him get there and will offer him an even larger deal.
The three-time All-Star has etched his name in Boston lore already, but if he can help bring home Banner 18, he could go down as one of the most beloved Celtics of all time.