Jayson Tatum could be a fit for No. 3 overall pick.

Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Jeff Goodman: Jayson Tatum is fit for Celtics

Ty Anderson
June 18, 2017 - 7:18 pm

The Celtics have all but officially traded to the No. 1 overall pick to the 76ers in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick and a future first-round pick.

For a team that's done almost everything possible to acquire the top overall pick, that seems like utter lunacy. But this was not that draft for the Celtics. 

"This really wasn’t the best draft to get the No. 1 overall pick because there wasn’t a clear cut guy," ESPN's Jeff Goodman told WEEI's Bradford & Giardi on Sunday when asked of the trade that is expected to go through on Monday. "But you knew somebody was going to love Markelle Fultz."

In Philadelphia for a workout on Saturday, Fultz likely remains the class of the draft class, but the margin by which he's considered the best remains razor-thin. 

"I’ve seen these kids play more than anybody and i can’t say with any conviction that Fultz is gonna be a better NBA player than whether it’s Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, or Lonzo Ball," Goodman continued of the 2017 draft class. "To me, you can throw almost these four in a hat. I would take Markelle Fultz at No. 1. I think he will be the best pro of the four, but I’m not sure of it any means, and neither was Danny Ainge and neither are a ton of NBA guys."

With Fultz expected to go to the Sixers, and with Goodman believing that Ball remains bound for the Lakers (he said that Magic Johnson sees too much of himself in Ball to walk away from him), the Celtics would seemingly land one of Jackson or Tatum, the two best small forwards of this class. And of that group, Goodman believes that Tatum would be the better fit for the C's. 

"My concern a little bit, is if you take Josh Jackson you duplicate a little bit of what Jaylen Brown does," Goodman said. "He’s a skilled passer, he’s a better defending, not quite as athletic. Tatum to me fits the need for them. I would take Jayson Tatum. Jayson Tatum is a Paul Pierce type player. Not as athletic, but he can score the ball. He’s 6-foot-8, he’s got an unbelievable step-back jumper."

On a Duke team loaded with veterans, Tatum, who has a 6-foot-11 wingspan, still managed to put up a strong season, with 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest in 29 games for the Blue Devils. 

"Tatum’s also a guy that can handle himself," Goodman concluded. "I get he’s not the most athletic dude in the world, but to have him as another scorer could really, really help the Celtics."

Jeff Goodman, ESPN, joins Giardi and Bradford to give his reaction to the huge trade between the Celtics and 76ers -- 6-18-17

Jeff Goodman calls the guys the morning after the huge Celtics/76ers trade to give his take on the move from both perspectives, why the top four guys in this draft are much more similar than people realize and what he thinks Boston will do at # 3. Goodman also discusses free agency and what the Celts may try to pull off on that front. He also has a warning about fans that are pushing for Ainge to sign Gordon Hayward. 

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